Australia sometimes gets a bad rap for being a bit behind the eight ball when it comes to renewable energy - and yeah, that’s kind of a fair call when you consider the massive strides some other countries are taking to ensure a low carbon future.

  • Uruguay gets a whopping 95% of their electricity from renewable sources

  • Sweden is committed to running entirely on 100% renewable energy within the next 25 years. (Not too shabby for the land that blessed us with ABBA)

Australia may not be at the forefront of renewable energy usage across the globe, but we actually aren’t doing too badly. In fact, here are some pretty cool examples of how we’re utilising innovative renewable energy around the country.

1. Partly solar-powered shopping complex in Western Australia

The creative design of a solar power carpark in Northam, Western Australia powers 40% of the attached shopping centre. The development includes over 900 solar panels, which act as shade for parked vehicles. There have also been solar carparks installed in Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast. And solar carparks don’t just work exceptionally well in our sunny land; they can be pretty aesthetically pleasing as well.

2. South Australia’s renewable energy target

South Australia is outdoing the nation with their renewable energy growth, particularly through their use of wind power. You might say they’re big fans of the renewable source. The initiative RenewablesSA works to support the development of renewable energy in SA.

This initiative has been quite effective. Their target of 50% of the state’s energy to come from renewable energy by 2025 was smashed this year at 57%. SA’s goal of becoming a 100% renewable energy state (as well as reliable and affordable) in the next 20 years is definitely on track.

Check out our guide on 101 on renewable energy to get the lowdown on different kinds of renewable energy and the common myths surrounding them.

3. The tidal energy project

There are some pretty swanky project plans in place to ensure we aren’t lagging too far behind our greener neighbouring countries. Being home to some of the biggest swells in Australia means we have some serious tidal energy potential. It isn’t widely used yet though, so the tidal energy project – which commenced earlier this year – aims to investigate the potential of using tidal energy in Australia’s future.

How the heck does tidal energy work? Tides generate energy that’s actually quite similar to how wind power is generated. Imagine a wind turbine underwater and you’ve basically got it.

4. Our largest solar farm

It’s a no-brainer for Australia to utilise the sunny, hot days we have throughout the year. We already have some impressive-sized solar farms situated around the country, and we’ve set our sights on building one of the biggest and best ones yet.

The Equis Energy solar farm in western QLD will have a capacity of a staggering 1,000 megawatts over 1,424 hectares of land. Set to begin construction over the next 12 months, the sizable solar farm will put us on the map for having one of the biggest solar farms in the world. Finally, a little more renewable cred to our name.

Australia is utilising our beautiful sunshine for energy and you can too. Find out how you can save with solar by investing in solar panels for your home.

5. Solar powering remote communities in the northern territory

The Northern Territory government implemented an innovative project that saw the installation of over 10,000 solar panels across 10 Indigenous communities in NT. The installation of these solar sites aim to:

  • Secure remote communities with a renewable energy source

  • Reduce greenhouse gases emitted from traditionally used diesel-fired energy

  • Create ongoing local job opportunities

  • Contribute to reaching NT’s target of 50% renewable energy by 2030

  • Eliminate diesel truck traffic on rural roads.

The project aims to ultimately distribute solar power to almost 30 remote communities in the territory – a perfect example of how Australia’s making the most of our sunny climate.

So we aren’t completely hopeless after all. On the contrary, Australia’s got some pretty exciting stuff in place for working our way up to being a clean, green, running machine. We’ll get there eventually; slow and steady wins the race.

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