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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
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Contents >> Energy >> Energy in Australia (Article)

FEATURE ARTICLE: ENERGY IN AUSTRALIA

In response to ongoing demand for information on the energy sector and energy products within Australia’s economy, during 2008-09 the Australian Bureau of Statistics released an analysis of electricity and gas activity in Australia, and statistics on the supply and use of energy products, the energy intensity of selected Australian industries, and energy resource stocks. This article provides highlights from these analyses.


Electricity and gas activity in Australia

Electricity supply chain

The supply of electricity begins with generation in power stations. Electricity generators are usually located near fuel sources, such as coalmines, natural gas pipelines and hydro-electric water reservoirs. Electricity is transmitted via high voltage transmission lines from generators to the low voltage distribution network. Distribution networks deliver electricity to consumers in cities, towns and regional communities.

The supply chain is completed by retailers who buy wholesale electricity and package it with transmission and distribution services for sale to residential, commercial and industrial customers.

There was an increase in the value of all three key financial data items for businesses engaged in electricity supply activity between 2006-07 and 2007-08 (graph 19.15). Industry value added (IVA) increased from $14.8b in 2006-07 to $15.6b in 2007-08, sales and service income increased from $38.2b in 2006-07 to $43.1b in 2007-08, and wages and salaries increased from $4.3b in 2006-07 to $4.6b in 2007-08.

19.15 Electricity Supply, Key Data Items, 2006-07 and 2007-08
Graph: 19.15 Electricity Supply, Key Data Items, 2006-07 and 2007-08


Electricity distribution had the highest IVA for electricity supply activity in 2007-08, at $7.3b (graph 19.16), followed by electricity generation at $5.0b. Electricity on-selling had the highest sales and service income at $16.0b, followed by electricity distribution at $13.8b and electricity generation at $11.2b. Electricity distribution had the highest wages and salaries at $2.8b, followed by electricity generation at $1.1b.

19.16 ELECTRICITY SUPPLY, by ACTIVITY, Key Data Items, 2007-08
Graph: 19.16 ELECTRICITY SUPPLY, by ACTIVITY, Key Data Items, 2007-08


Diagram 19.17 shows the physical flow of electricity through the electricity supply chain in 2007-08.

19.17 Electricity supply chain physical flow of electricity gigawatt hours (gwh), 2007-08

Electricity supply chain physical flow of electricity gigawatt hours (gwh), 2007-08


Natural gas supply chain

The gas supply chain begins with extracting gas from wells. The extracted gas is processed to separate the methane from the liquids and other gases that may be present, and to remove any impurities. The gas extracted from a well can be used on site as a fuel for electricity generation or for other purposes.

High pressure transmission pipelines are used to transport gas from the source of extraction over long distances from production fields to major demand centres. Distribution pipelines deliver gas from points along the transmission pipelines to industrial customers and from gate stations to consumers in cities, towns and regional communities.

Often retailers act as intermediaries in the supply chain. They enter into contracts for wholesale gas, transmission and distribution services and package the services together for on-sale to industrial, commercial and residential consumers.

Unlike electricity, natural gas can be stored, usually in depleted gas reservoirs, or it can be converted to a liquefied form for storage in purpose-built facilities. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is transported by ship to export markets. It is also possible to transport LNG by road or pipeline.

There was an increase in the value of all three key financial data items for businesses engaged in gas supply activity between 2006-07 and 2007-08 (diagram 19.17). IVA increased from $20.3b in 2006-07 to $21.4b in 2007-08, sales and service income increased from $28.3b in 2006-07 to $30.6b in 2007-08, and wages and salaries increased from $1.3b in 2006-07 to $1.6b in 2007-08.

19.18 Gas Supply, Key Data Items, 2006-07 and 2007-08
Graph: 19.18 Gas Supply, Key Data Items, 2006–07 and 2007–08


Gas extraction had clearly the highest value for gas supply activity for 2007-08 for both IVA and sales and service income ($19.4b for IVA, and $22.3b for sales and service income) (graph 19.18).

19.19 GAS SUPPLY, by ACTIVITY, Key Data Items, 2007-08
Graph: 19.19 GAS SUPPLY, by ACTIVITY, Key Data Items, 2007–08


Diagram 19.20 shows the physical flow of gas through the gas supply chain in 2007-08.

Full details are in Alternative View of Electricity and Gas Supply Activity, Australia (4647.0).

19.20 Gas supply chain physical flow of gas petajoules (pj), 2007-08

Gas supply chain physical flow of gas petajoules (pj), 2007-08


Energy accounts

Supply and use of energy products in Australia, 2001-02 to 2006-07

Australia’s total energy use increased by 15% for the period 2001-02 to 2006-07 (from 18,538 PJ to 21,363 PJ). Manufacturing, along with the electricity, gas and water industries were the largest domestic energy users in 2006-07 (around one-third each), while households made up a further one-eighth.

Over half of household energy use was on fuels such as petrol, diesel and LPG, about one quarter was on electricity, and the remainder on products such as natural gas, biomass and solar energy.

In its first attempt at presenting both physical and monetary aspects of energy use, the ABS found that the manufacturing industry was the largest user of electricity in 2004-05 at 313 petajoules (86.9 billion kilowatt hours), with an experimental value of $3,585m, while households used 215 petajoules (59.7 billion kilowatt hours), with an experimental value of $7,818m. Manufacturing had the largest share of oil and gas (around 80% for both physical and monetary use, graph 19.19). Households had the largest electricity cost (about a third of total electricity cost), while only using about a fifth of total electricity use (diagram 19.20).

19.21 DISTRIBUTION OF OIL AND GAS USE - MONETARY & PHYSICAL: 2004-05
Graph: 19.21 DISTRIBUTION OF OIL AND GAS USE - MONETARY & PHYSICAL: 2004–05


19.22 DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRICITY USE - MONETARY & PHYSICAL: 2004-05
Graph: 19.22 DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRICITY USE – MONETARY & PHYSICAL: 2004–05


Full details are in ABS Energy Account, Australia (4604.0).

Energy intensity measures for selected Australian industries

Overall there has been a decrease in energy intensity for all industries over the last 30 years (graph 19.21). However, energy intensity in mining has doubled over the last 30 years due to a number of factors (graph 19.22). In contrast, there have been large decreases in energy intensity in other industries, such as construction (74%) and transport (50%).

19.23 ENERGY INTENSITY, ALL INDUSTRIES: 1976-77 to 2006-07
Graph: 19.23 ENERGY INTENSITY, ALL INDUSTRIES: 1976–77 to 2006–07


19.24 ENERGY INTENSITY: Agriculture, mining & MANUFACTURING: 1976-77 to 2006-07
Graph: 19.24 ENERGY INTENSITY: Agriculture, mining & MANUFACTURING: 1976–77 to 2006–07


Full details are in ABS Energy Account, Australia (4604.0).



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