Journal of Power and Energy Engineering,2014, 2, 19-25
Published Online April 2014 in SciRes.
How to cite this paper:Azad, A.K., Rasul, M.G., Khan, M.M.K., Ahasan, T. and Ahmed, S.F. (2014) Energy Scenario: Production,
Consumption and Prospect of Renewable Energy in Australia. Journal of Power and Energy Engineering,2,19-25.
Energy Scenario: Production, Consumption
and Prospect of Renewable Energy in
A. K. Azad*, M. G. Rasul, M. M. K. Khan, T. Ahasan, S. F. Ahmed
School of Engineering and Technology, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia
Email: *
Received December 2013
Australia is the world’s 9th largest energy producer, 17th largest consumer of non-renewable
energy resources and ranks 18th on a per person energy consumption basis. Australia’s energy
consumption is primarily composed of non-renewable energy resources (coal, oil, gas and related
products), which represent 96% of total energy consumption. Renewables, the majority of which
is bioenergy (wood and wood waste, biomass, and biogas) combined with clear energy namely
wind, solar hot water, solar electricity, hydroelectricity account for the remaining 4% consump-
tion. Australia’s renewable energy resources are largely undeveloped which can contribute di-
rectly to the Australian economy. In this article, a review of literature on energy scenario is pre-
sented and discussed. Australia’s total energy production, consumption, storage and export (in-
cluding renewable and non-renewable) data has been analyzed and discussed in this study. The
main objective of the study is to analyze the prospect of renewable energy in Australia. This study
concludes that Australian economy will grow faster if its undeveloped renewable energies can be
used efficiently for electricity generation and transport sector.
Renewable Energy; Non-Renewable Energy; Total Energy Production; Electricity Generation;
1. Introduction
The world is facing two major problems, namely energy and environment. Another issue which is closely linked
with the above is economy. So, energy, economy and environment are bonded by three dimensional relation-
ships with bi-directional causal relationship among them [1]. The world energy consumption is likely to grow
faster than the increase in the population [2]. The International Energy Outlook-2013 projects that world energy
consumption will be grown by 56% between 2010 and 2040. Total world energy use will rise from 524 quadril-
lion British thermal units (Btu) in 2010 to 630 quadrillion Btu in 2020 and to 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040 [3].
*Corresponding author.
A. K. Azadet al.
Much of the growth in energy consumption occurs in countries outside the Organization for Economic Coopera-
tion and Development (OECD), known as non-OECD, where demand is driven by strong, long-term economic
growth. Energy use in non-OECD countries increases by 90%, in OECD countries, the increase is 17%. The In-
ternational Energy Outlook 2013 reference case does not incorporate prospective legislation or policies that
might affect energy markets [3]. In the world energy status, Australia is holds 9th position in energy production
and 17th position as an energy consumer [4,5]. The total energy production including energy export was 17,460
Petajoulesin 2011-2012 which is equivalent to total energy production increase by 5% relative to 2010-2011 [6].
Research is ongoing throughout the world on how to fulfil the energy demand successfully without hampering
environment of our planet. Many of them deal with the issue of energy and environment, including the four
main measures, namely energy saving and efficiency; switching to natural gas; CO2 recovery; development of
alternative energy sources to reduce the CO2 emissions resulting from energy use [7]. Energy generation from
the combustion of fossil fuels has simultaneously created several environmental concerns which can threaten the
sustainability of our ecosystem. One of the primary concerns is the emissions of greenhouse gases and other
types of air pollutants such as hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds [8]. To minimize
the greenhouse effect the world is moving towards alternative energy sources which are eco-friendly, clear, and
green energy [9-11].
The population growth is one of the major causes for high energy demand. The United Nations (UN) predicts
the world population to reach 9 billion by 2030 [12]. Growth in population and the ever-increasing development
of new production technology, new transport, living standard, industrialization etc. is leading to rising energy
use [13]. However, development of a country is presently indexing by their energy consumption. But the fossil
fuel which is the major sources of energy is decreasing gradually and the harmful effect is increasing sharply
day-by-day [14,15]. Australia is presently consuming 96% of non-renewable energy and renewables for the re-
maining 4%. Australia has 33% of the world’s uranium resources, 10% of world black coal resources and almost
2% of world conventional gas resources. It has only a small proportion of world crude oil resources. But there is
also potential for a number of emerging clear energy technologies that are yet to be commercially developed, in-
cluding large scale solar energy plant, geothermal generation technologies, ocean energy technologies and car-
bon capture and storage to reduce emissions from coal, oil and gas. Modelling by the Australian Energy Market
Operator shows that 100% of power from clean energy would be technically viable by 2030-although with a
price tag ranging from $219 billion to $252 billion. Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) investigated
two future scenarios featuring an electricity grid fuelled entirely by renewable resources in 2030 and 2050. This
is the first study of its kind by AEMO into potential costs and the viability of moving to an electricity generation
system fuelled entirely by renewable resources [16]. The study aimed to investigate the present energy scenario
in Australia. The total energy production by fuel type, energy consumption by fuel type, energy export and
prospect of renewable energy data has been analysed and discussed in next sections.
2. Australian Energy Scenario
2.1. Primary Energy Production by Fuel Type
Figure 1 shows the total primary energy production in Australia. In 2011-12 total energy production (17,460 pJ)
increased by 5% with respect to 2010-11 (16640 pJ) including exported energy. It has about 37% of domestic
consumption and 63% of net energy export [6]. So, Australia’s net energy production serves both domestic and
international market. Energy demand increased gradually in both markets has spurred strong growth by 9% per
year between 2000-01 and 2011-12 [4]. Presently, more than 60% of primary energy accorded from coal. So,
Australian energy economy is fully dependent on coal energy which is clearly shown in Figure 2.
2.2.Primary Energy Consumption by Fuel Type
Total energy consumption is calculated as original production plus import less export and change in stock. So, in
a word, the total energy used within the Australian economy is called net energy consumption. In 2011-12, total
energy consumption increased by 2% with respect to 2010-11 and rises to 6193 pJ. Significant growth of energy
consumption was found in petroleum sectors. It was contributed 39% of total energy consumption in 2011-12
[6]. The lowest relative consumption of black and brown coal together accounted 34% of total energy consump-
tion since early 1970s. At a glance the energy growth by fuel type is shown in Table 1.
A. K. Azadet al.
Figure 1.Total primary energy production in Australia.Source: Energy in Austral-
ia 2013 [4], 2013 AES Table-J [17].
Table 1.Primary energy consumption growth rate by fuel type in Australia.
Fuel type Production (pJ)
Growth (%) Share (%)
2010-11 to 2011-12 5 years average
Coal 21184.72.3 34.2
Oil 2411 8.5 10.6 38.9
Gas 1399 4.2 1.2 22.6
RE 2657.3 -2.8 4 .3
Total 6194 2.0 2.7 100
Sources: 2013 Australian Energy Statistic Data, Table C [17].
The coal use decreased because the falling coal use in iron and steel sector over the past five years. The re-
newable energy account for only 4.3% of total energy consumption. Among the renewable energy resources,
wind energy contributed only 5.3% of growth whereas solar energy contributed significant growth by 20% from
2010-11 to 2011-12 [6].
2.3. Energy Production by Renewable Energy Sources
Australia is not only gifted with abundant, high quality and diverse non-renewable energy sources but also has
large, widely distributed renewable energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, ocean energy and
bioenergy resources. Australia’s renewable energy resources are largely undeveloped.
Figure 3 shows the energy production from renewable energy sources from 2002-03 to 2011-12. The total
renewable energy production reached a peak in 2007-08 and after that it gradually went down reaching a mini-
mum in 2 008 -09. Now the trend is growing and rising. Australian’s renewable energy consumption is 265 pJ
which is share around 4.3% of the total energy consumption. The summary of renewable energy consumption,
growth and share are presented in Table 2.
Figure 4 shows the Australia’s total energy consumption by fuel type and their percen t of share to the total
consumption at a glance. The major contributions are from coal about 34.2%, and Oil 38.9%. So, coal and oil
sectors contribution in Australian energy economy is more important.
2.4. Energy Consumption by Sectors
Now, it is needed to identify the sector which demands more energy consumption in Australia. The energy con-
sumption by sectors like electricity generation, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and construction, transport,
A. K. Azadet al.
Figure 2.Australian’s net energy consumption by fuel type [Unit 1 pe-
tajouls, pJ= 1015J]. Source: 2013 Australian Energy Statistics, Table C
Figure 3.Energy production by renewable energy sources [Unit 1 pe-
tajouls, pJ= 1015J].Source: 2013 Australian Energy Statistics, Table A
commercial, residential and others is shown in Figure 5. It can be clearly seen from the Figure that the major
energy using sectors are electricity generation, transport and manufacturing together account for around 76% of
Australia’s energy consumption.
The transport sector accounts for the largest share of Australia’s end use consumption. According to Bureau
of Resources and Energy Economy (BREE) estimation, energy consumption of transport increased by an aver-
age of 2.4 percent per year during 2000-01 to 2011-12 [6]. This sector consumes mostly petroleum energy. The
next largest energy consuming sectors are mining, residential, commercial and services sectors.
3. Prospect of Renewable Energy in Australia
Australia has abundant and diverse renewable energy sources with significant potential for future development.
A. K. Azadet al.
Table 2.Australian renewable energy consumption.
Fuel type Consumption (pJ)
2011-12 Growth (%)
2010-11 to 2011-12 Share (%)
Biomass 165 - 0.9 2.3
Biogas/fuel 11 -55.7 0.4
Hydro 51 -16.2 1.0
Wind 22 5.3 0.3
Solar 17 19.9 0.2
Total 265 -7.3 4.3
Sources: 2013 Australian Energy Statistic Data, Table C [17].
Figure 4.Total energy consumption and percent of shear. Source: 2013 Australian
Energy Statistics, Table C [17].
Figure 5.Total energy consumption by sectors
(2011-12).Sources: 2013 Australian Energy Statistics,
Table B [17].
Presently, renewable energy resources are used for heating and cooling, electricity generation, and as transporta-
tion fuels like bio-fuel. The clean energy resources being utilized on a commercial scale include hydro and wind
energy for electricity generation, and bioenergy and solar energy for both heating and cooling and electricity
generation [4]. Other renewable resources are mostly undeveloped at present and involve technologies which are
still at the proof of concept stage or early stages of commercialization. A number of significant barriers are still
A. K. Azadet al.
being faced for large-scale utilization of Australia’s clean energy resources. Changes in regulatory and approval
processes are affecting well-established technologies like wind farms in some locations. It is often stated that the
deployment of alternative energy resources will require a great deal of new research and development effort.
The renewable energy technologies are too sophisticated and complex compared to conventional energy conver-
sion technique. Due to the higher initial investment cost the renewable energy technology is not fully used yet.
Despite these challenges, the deployment of clean energy technologies is gathering pace, and is expected to play
a critical role in moving to a low emissions future while meeting Australia’s continued demand for energy [4,6].
4. Conclusions
The following conclusions can be drawn from this review.
Total energy production (which includes energy exports) in 2011-12 increased by 5%, relative to 2010-11, to
total 17,460 petajoules, reflecting strong growth in natural gas (8%), black and brown coal (5% and 6%) and
uranium (6%) production. Production of crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas fell 6%, and renewable ener-
gy decreased by 7% in 2011-12 compared to 2010-11.
Total energy consumption, increased by 2%, relative to 2010-11, to total 6194 petajoules in 2011-12. The
result was mainly driven by strong growth in energy use in the commercial and services sector and modest
growth in the transport, mining, agricultural and residential sectors. Energy consumption in manufacturing
and construction, however, decreased in 2011-12 relative to 2010-11.
In 2011-12 consumption of renewable energy declined by 7%, relative to 2010-11, largely due to a fall in
hydro energy consumption associated with lower hydroelectricity output in southeast Australia due to re-
duced water in-flows. Reduced hydro energy consumption more than offset the very strong growth observed
in wind and solar energy.
The prospect of renewable energy is more in Australia which will make a great contribution to Australia’s
energy economy in near future.
The authors concluded that the Australia’s renewable energy economic is viable; if its undeveloped renew-
able energy can be used effectively for electricity generation and transport sector.
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