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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
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Contents >> Energy >> International comparisons of energy performance

INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS OF ENERGY PERFORMANCE

This article outlines the main concepts underlying measures of energy performance, and the difficulties they present for measurement. It provides some international comparisons of energy performance and discusses Australia's performance against various indicators relative to that of other OECD countries.

Given that countries exhibit a range of climate, industrial structures, geographical features and economic development, changes in the aggregate energy intensity ratio (energy consumed per unit of output) are an inadequate basis for measuring and comparing energy efficiency among countries. Using only the ratio of energy use to GDP as an energy performance indicator for international or cross-country comparison would be misleading. However, aggregate energy intensity can be broken down to identify the factors which have contributed to the net aggregate effect. These factors may be due to the level of economic activity (the production effect); the sectoral composition of the economy (the structural effect); and energy intensities of activity within the various energy-using sectors (the real intensity effect).

Overall, Australia's ratio of energy use to GDP and its energy use per capita are higher than the OECD average (table 15.22). Although the ratio of energy use to GDP for Australia has declined between 1988 and 1998, this is less of a decline than that experienced in most other OECD countries. This is partly due to a natural evolution of the Australian economy towards more energy use, particularly in the transport, commercial, and residential sectors. In addition, structural changes in the economy towards certain energy-intensive manufacturing industries contributed to increased energy use. Energy savings offset some of this growth, but the overall impact was a growth in energy use (OECD/IEA 2001).


15.22 ENERGY INDICATORS FOR SELECTED OECD COUNTRIES - 1998


Energy production
% change
1988
to 1998


TPES(a)
% change
1988
to 1998

TPES/
GDP(b)
% change
1988
to 1998

TPES/
Pop'n
% change
1988
to 1998
Country

Mtoe(c)

%

Mtoe

%

toe/$USm

%

toe/capita

%

Australia
212.01
53.8
105.01
31.8
289.4
-3.4
5.6
16.2
Canada
365.67
34.1
234.33
10.6
383.9
-7.5
7.7
-1.9
Denmark
20.18
146.7
20.80
8.2
176.9
-14.0
3.9
4.7
Finland
13.61
21.4
33.46
17.9
361.1
-0.2
6.5
13.2
France
125.53
28.6
255.67
22.5
224.5
2.0
4.3
16.8
Germany
131.46
-35.1
344.51
-6.0
232.3
-23.4
4.2
-10.4
Italy
29.05
15.9
167.93
14.9
161.9
-0.2
2.9
14.3
Netherlands
62.50
13.1
74.41
14.8
243.8
-14.5
4.7
7.9
New Zealand
13.84
30.7
17.16
36.6
306.4
12.9
4.5
19.5
Norway
206.67
119.3
25.42
23.6
243.0
-10.0
5.8
17.8
United Kingdom
274.23
17.2
232.88
10.2
216.1
-6.7
3.9
6.3
United States
1,695.43
4.8
2,181.8
12.9
309.8
-14.8
8.1
2.8
OECD total
3,790.32
12.5
5,096.97
15.2
258.0
-9.9
4.6
6.8

(a) Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) is made up of production plus imports less exports less international marine bunkers, net of stock changes.
(b) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Purchasing Price Parity terms, expessed in 1990 $US.
(c) Million tonnes of oil equivalent.

Source: OECD/IEA 2000.


Australian manufacturing's use of energy per unit of GDP is high compared to most of the countries included in table 15.23. Australian manufacturing production involves a high share of energy intensive raw materials. Particularly important is the production of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Energy use for non-ferrous metals (alumina refining and aluminium smelting) has increased dramatically as Australia has captured an increased share of the global market. Expansion of these industries has pushed up manufacturing energy use. Australia is one of the few countries described where structural changes have had an upward effect on energy use over the past two decades.

Passenger transport rose strongly all through the 1970s and 1980s, driven by increased car ownership and air travel. In the early 1970s Australia had a relatively low level of per capita motorisation by US or Canadian standards. However, Australia experienced a higher rate of growth in ownership, relative to GDP, than most other countries, and significantly closed the gap with the US. Factors that combined to give Australia high energy use for transport include: high volume of passenger transport; above-average fuel intensity of cars; and high car ownership (OECD/IEA 2001).

The 1970s and 1980s saw an expansion of the area of built space in the commercial sector in Australia that closely followed the rise in commercial sector gross product. Electricity intensity in this sector rose, indicative of greater electrification (e.g. increased electricity use for air conditioning, lighting and computing). This trend appears to be slowing, however, even with the rising commercial sector gross product. Significant growth in residential energy use over the past two decades can be attributed to rapid development of equipment ownership in Australia. Canada, the United States and Nordic countries, by contrast, showed little growth in residential energy use for equipment because consumption was already so well developed in the early 1970s.

15.23 ENERGY END-USE BY SECTOR, Selected OECD Countries - 1998

Industry(a)
Transport
Other(b)



1988
1998
change
78-88
change
88-98
1988
1998
change
78-88
change
88-98
1988
1998
change
78-88
change
88-98

Mtoe

Mtoe

%

%

Mtoe

Mtoe

%

%

Mtoe

Mtoe

%

%

Australia
18.9
24.0
9.8
26.7
21.4
27.0
27.3
25.8
11.3
15.1
22.7
34.6
Canada
59.7
66.9
17.0
12.1
44.5
52.9
10.1
18.8
52.0
56.5
3.5
8.8
Denmark
2.7
3.1
-19.1
14.7
4.42
4.9
15.1
10.6
6.1
7.4
-29.9
21.4
Finland
9.4
11.5
45.5
21.6
4.0
4.4
43.2
10.0
7.3
8.5
-22.6
16.7
France
41.9
46.8
-11.5
11.7
39.9
49.8
24.2
24.6
52.0
65.5
-6.8
26.1
Germany
88.6
71.1
-7.3
-19.7
55.4
66.2
20.7
19.5
105.1
99.2
-1.1
-5.6
Italy
39.2
40.9
-4.0
4.2
33.1
41.8
40.2
26.2
36.4
41.8
7.1
14.9
Netherlands
18.6
19.0
-11.1
2.1
9.9
14.0
15.7
40.5
19.1
22.5
-9.8
15.8
New Zealand
3.6
4.9
61.0
36.2
3.2
4.6
30.9
43.8
19.5
2.5
4.0
18.8
Norway
7.5
7.6
9.0
1.1
4.1
4.8
29.7
19.2
5.9
6.9
22.4
16.8
United Kingdom
40.9
41.0
-19.7
0.2
43.3
51.1
31.2
18.1
57.9
62.8
7.8
8.4
United States
401.4
348.7
-3.0
-13.1
499.3
582.1
7.7
16.6
424.9
437.4
-1.6
2.9

(a) Manufacturing and mining.
(b) Includes agriculture, commerce, public services, residential and non-specified other sectors.

Source: OECD/IEA 2000.


The dependence of the electricity sector in Australia on coal for primary inputs (table 15.24) points to the importance of improving the efficiency of electricity use as a priority for research and policy initiatives.


15.24 FUEL SHARES IN ELECTRICITY GENERATION, Selected OECD Countries - 1998

Coal
Petroleum
Natural gas
Fossil fuels
Nuclear
Hydro-electricity
Country

%

%

%

%

%

%

Australia
80.0
1.2
9.0
90.2
-
8.1
Canada
19.1
3.3
4.6
27.0
12.7
59.1
Denmark
57.6
12.1
19.9
89.6
0
0.1
France
7.4
2.3
1.0
10.7
76.5
12.2
Germany
54.2
1.2
9.8
65.2
29.3
3.1
Italy
11.0
42.3
28.8
81.1
-
16.3
Netherlands
29.9
3.9
57.0
90.8
4.2
0.1
New Zealand
3.9
-
23.2
27.1
-
64.9
Norway
0.2
-
0.2
0.4
-
99.4
United Kingdom
34.5
1.6
32.5
68.6
28.1
1.5
United States
52.8
3.9
14.7
71.4
18.8
7.7

Source: OECD/IEA 2000.


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