Renewables provided Australia 5 times more power than gas in 2021, and it’s much cheaper.

Photo: Onslow, a small beachside town in the Pilbara, 1,400 kilometres north of Perth.(ABC News: Tom Edwards)

from Louis Bardford, Climate Council.

New data crunched by the Climate Council shows that in 2021, renewables provided five times more power than gas into Australia’s largest electricity grid, while gas generation slumped to its lowest levels in more than 15 years (1).

Gas is a dirty, polluting fossil fuel that Australia is already moving away from.

video on social media.

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • In 2021, renewables provided 31% of power in Australia’s National Electricity Market, compared to less than 6% from gas.
  • Gas provided just 1.5% of the power used in NSW in 2021, while renewables jumped by a whopping 30% in Victoria.
  • In WA, renewables were the state’s second biggest source of power, overtaking gas for the first time, while SA held onto its clean energy crown, with 66% of the state’s electricity coming from renewables.
  • Gas generation has fallen so dramatically because gas is expensive to produce, while solar and wind is cheaper and much more readily available. 
  • Thanks to soaring capacity in solar and wind, Australians are now experiencing the cheapest electricity prices in more than a decade (2).

We simply don’t need any new polluting gas projects in Australia. Share our new video now to amplify this message.

This new data comes in the very same week that Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, announced the final tick of approval for the controversial Kurri Kurri gas power station in NSW (3).

We’re using this data to change the conversation, and drive home our point to decision makers via the media: Australians don’t need new gas. We also don’t want new gas, and we won’t stay silent while hundreds of millions of our hard-earned dollars are being wasted on an expensive, polluting industry that’s worsening climate change as the rest of the world moves towards net zero.

Clearly, Minister Taylor’s office is sitting up and taking notice. Yesterday, his media spokesperson claimed the Climate Council is running a “crusade” against gas (4).

Yes Minister, we are: gas is a fossil fuel, and the only way we can limit global warming is by switching to clean energy sources like solar and wind. It’s past time you listened.

Louis Brailsford
Campaigner (Gas)
Climate Council
Read more about the media and public pressure we’re building together, by checking out the following articles: 


  1. A record year: Renewables provided 5x more power than gas in 2021, Climate Council Media Release, 10 February 2022
  2. Electricity prices have dropped. Here’s why, and how to save even more on your power bills, ABC News, 19 January 2022
  3. NSW gas-fired power plant gets final tick, The New Daily, 7 February 2022 
  4. Renewables power ahead of gas generation, The Australian, 10 February 2022 [PAYWALLED]


RENEWABLES PROVIDED FIVE times more power into Australia’s largest grid than gas in 2021, according to new data from the Climate Council.Renewables reached record highs in all mainland states in 2021, while gas generation fell once again across the country, down to its lowest level in more than 15 years in the National Electricity Market (NEM) despite virtually no change in electricity demand. Tasmania equaled it’s previous record of 99.9 percent of wind, water and sun in 2021“The increase in solar, wind and batteries in our electricity system is making power bills cheaper for Australian households and businesses. Electricity is now the cheapest it has been in almost a decade and we have solar and wind to thank for that,” said Climate Council Senior Researcher, Tim Baxter.

“Let’s be clear, this record has nothing to do with the federal government, which has been missing in action and leaving all of the heavy-lifting to the states and territories.”

“When you look at the data and what renewables are doing for Australians’ hip-pockets, the push for gas from the Morrison Government seems increasingly irresponsible and economically reckless.

“This week, the federal government approved its Kurri Kurri gas-fired power station, despite it making zero commercial sense.”

In NSW, gas provided just 1.5 percent of the state’s power, its lowest level in 15 years.

Climate Councillor, energy expert and former BP Australasia President, Greg Bourne said: “Every taxpayer dollar spent on new gas-fired power infrastructure is at risk of being wasted on unnecessary stranded assets.”

“Every taxpayer dollar spent on new gas-fired power infrastructure is at risk of being wasted on unnecessary stranded assets.”

“Gas simply cannot compete with renewable energy, which is bringing down power prices for consumers and creating a cleaner, healthier energy system.”

“We’re also seeing a similar clean energy trend on the other side of Australia, in WA’s largest grid, which for the first time ever in 2021 saw renewables overtake gas to become the state’s biggest source of power. This is incredibly significant considering renewable energy generation has more than doubled in WA in just three years,” said the former West Australian.

Renewable energy generation increased by almost 20 percent in the NEM in 2021, with a 30 percent jump in Victoria and 26 percent jump in Western Australia. In South Australia, gas generation slumped to its lowest level in more than two decades, while in Victoria it dropped a whopping 30 percent in just 12 months.

“Why is the Morrison Government investing in gas-fired power stations when the need for gas in our electricity system is clearly disappearing?” said Mr Bourne.

“Gas is expensive, polluting, and diminishing in importance and relevance as the rest of the world moves towards net zero, and our own states and territories rapidly roll-out large-scale renewable energy and storage.”

Further information: 

The National Electricity Market (NEM) is Australia’s largest grid and supplies the vast majority of Australia’s electricity. It is an interconnected system supplying electricity right across Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, and most major populated regions of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. ACT’s generation is accounted for within the NSW total.

OpenNEM is an open source platform that displays electricity generation data. This data covers the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021. You can view the data here. The Climate Council has recently begun working with the OpenNEM team to grow the site’s functionality, which has recently added Australian, and global greenhouse gas emissions data tools.

State Renewable energy generation in 2021 Gas power generation in 2021
National Electricity Market 31.4% 5.7%
Tasmania 99.9% 0.1%
South Australia 65.7% 33.5%
Victoria 31.6% 1.8%
New South Wales 24.6% 1.5%
Queensland 18.5% 8.7%
Western Australia (South West Interconnected System only) 32.2% 29.8%
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