If an election outcome can be predicted by developers’ enthusiasm for new wind, solar and storage projects, then it looks as though Canberra is about to set a course for clean energy. For the first time, it is batteries leading the charge.

Independent energy research and consulting firm Rystad Energy forecasts that Australia’s renewable energy pipeline will reach 100GW before the federal election in two months’ time.

In January and February 6.65GW of new capacity from 62 assets were added to Rystad Energy’s database, more than double the capacity and number of assets that were added in the same period last year.

“This clearly shows the confidence investors have in Australia’s renewable future and possibly where the renewables sector sees the election outcome going,” says Rystad Energy senior analyst APAC renewables David Dixon.

These projects added to Rystad’s RenewableCube database in January and February included an additional 2.9GW of solar (up 7% on the overall solar pipeline in Rystad’s database), 1.4GW of wind (up 4% on the wind pipeline) and 2.4GW of storage (up 25% on the storage pipeline), bringing the total pipeline to 96GW.

Additions to Rystad Energy RenewableCube database for January and February 2019.

The 2.4GW increase in the storage pipeline in January and February is just under half the 5.6GW total capacity added for the entire year of 2018.

“This is unprecedented. Half of 2018’s total storage capacity was added in just two months,” Dixon said. “We believe this is an indication of how attractive the long term growth is for renewables in Australia.”

Sixteen of the battery projects added, a total 1.68GW, were part of hybrid developments, where storage is being matched with solar or wind generation.

A total 490MW of pumped hydro also entered the pipeline in January and February, the Rystad data showed, an 8% increase on the pumped hydro pipeline.

Storage additions included the 500MW battery associated with the Sunshine Energy Project, the 400MW battery planned for the Desailly Renewable Energy Park and the 250MW battery associated with Robertstown solar farm.