Report: Solar energy remains important to Australia8th Mar 2012
Solar power is becoming an increasingly important part of Australia's energy needs, a new report has established.
The country relies on a mix of different energy types, including renewables and non-renewables, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) confirmed.
In its latest report entitled Energy in Australia 2012, the group found that solar energy is being used alongside other renewables such as wind and geothermal to supply the country's energy needs.
The energy industry is not only proving important to Australians, but also to the economy as a whole, as it accounts for approximately five per cent of total industry value added in 2009-10.
Furthermore, Australia was identified by BREE as the ninth-largest producer of energy in the world, as it accounts for around 2.5 per cent of global production and five per cent of exports.
Steps still need to be taken to improve the use of renewables, as figures show that in 2009-10, coal accounted for 37 per cent of Australia's total primary energy supply, followed by oil with 35 per cent.
Gas was responsible for providing 23 per cent of energy, while renewables took just five per cent.
In comparison to other OECD nations, the country was identified by BREE to have relatively low electricity prices, with renewable energy sources accounting for eight per cent of total generation.
At the end of 2011, BREE released a report called Australian Energy Projections to 2034-35, which identified that demand for electricity is projected to increase 42 per cent over the next 25 years.
Professor Quentin Grafton said: "Australia's primary energy consumption is projected to grow by one per cent a year over the period from 2008–09 to 2034–35, compared with the 1.6 per cent growth over the last decade."
Additional figures show that renewable energy is likely to come to the fore over the coming years, with estimates suggesting a six per cent annual growth until 2034-35.
The share of renewables in total electricity generation is expected to reach up to 24 per cent during the projected period.
Furthermore, Australia is expected to rely less heavily on oil and refined petroleum products in the future, which could make way for the greater use of renewables.
"The introduction of carbon pricing and new technology development will drive fundamental and long-term changes in how we generate and use energy in future decades," added Professor Grafton.
Posted by Mike Peacock