4613.0 - Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends, 2007  
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Image: Wind turbinesENERGY


Energy use


In 2005-06, Australia’s total domestic energy use was 5,641 petajoules (PJ). Over the 30 year period from 1975-76 to 2005-06, total energy use in Australia rose by 107%, up from 2,731 PJ in 1975-76.

The annual average rate of growth in energy use peaked in 1988-89 at 5.8%. Since this time, energy use has been growing at between 2% and 4% annually. Total energy consumption between 1989-90 and 2005-06 increased by almost 50%.

Until the early 1990s, the rate of growth of total energy use generally matched the rate of growth in gross domestic product (GDP). However, energy consumption has tended to grow more slowly than GDP since that time.

The decline in ‘energy intensity’ of the Australian economy has been attributed to two main factors. One is an increase in energy efficiency due to technological advancements and fuel substitution. The other is the rapid growth of less energy intensive sectors, such as the services sector, in contrast to lower rates of growth in more energy intensive sectors such as manufacturing and mining.

Of the 5,641 PJ used nationally, the state or territory with the highest energy use was New South Wales (27%), followed by Victoria (26%), Queensland (23%) and Western Australia (14%). Those with the lowest use were South Australia (6%), Tasmania (2%) and the Northern Territory (2%).


Total energy use
Graph: Total energy use
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Energy Statistics - Australian Energy Update', 2007, Table F1.

The mix of fuels used to provide energy has changed little in the last five years. In 2005-06, black and brown coal accounted for 41.6% of primary energy consumption. Petroleum products (e.g. automotive gasoline, aviation turbine fuel, fuel oil and diesel) and natural gas accounted for 35.2% and 18.5% respectively. Renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro-electricity and solar energy represented about 5% of primary energy consumption.

Energy use by selected fuel source
Graph: Energy use by selected fuel source
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Energy Statistics - Australian Energy Update', 2007, Table C.

Energy production

In 2005-06, Australia’s total primary energy production was estimated at 16,524 PJ. Of this, black coal accounted for 50% (8,194 PJ), followed by uranium (28% and 4,666 PJ), natural gas (10% and 1,672 PJ) and crude oil (5% and 900 PJ).

Over the 30 year period from 1975-76 to 2005-06, the production of non-renewable fuels has continually shown an upward trend, increasing from 3,158 PJ in 1975-76 to 16,254 PJ in 2005-06 (up 415%).

Production of non-renewable fuels
Graph: Production of non-renewable fuels
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Energy Statistics - Australian Energy Update', 2007, Table A: Australian energy supply and disposal.

Growth in the production of renewable energy fuels increased by 31% but from a small base of just 206 PJ in 1975-76 to 270 PJ in 2005-06.

In the nine years to 2005-06, hydro-electricity output has fallen by nearly 7%, since water flow available for hydro-electricity generators has been restricted due to continued dry conditions mainly in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

Production of renewable fuels
Graph Production of renewable fuels
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Energy Statistics - Australian Energy Update', 2007, Table A: Australian energy supply and disposal.

Energy consumption by selected sector

In 2005-06, consumption of energy by Australian households and industries (but excluding electricity generation), was 3,959.6 petajoules (PJ). This was an increase of 12.3% since 2000-01.

Mining experienced a 49.5% increase in energy consumption from 253.9 PJ to 379.6 PJ between 2000-01 and 2005-06.

The transport sector (including household transport) was the largest consumer of energy, consuming 1,340.1 PJ in 2005-06. Road transport accounted for about three-quarters of this total, with the remaining contributors being air transport, water transport and rail transport.

The manufacturing sector was the second highest consumer of energy (1,368.5 PJ in 2005-06).

The transport and manufacturing sectors together accounted for more than two-thirds (68%) of total energy consumption. The residential sector accounted for 11% of total energy consumption, while the mining sector accounted for 10%.

Energy consumption by selected sector

Graph: Energy consumption by selected sector


ENERGY CONSUMPTION BY SELECTED SECTOR
2000-01
2005-06
Per cent change
PJ
PJ
%

Agriculture
85.5
92.8
8.5
Mining
253.9
379.6
49.5
Manufacturing
1 198.6
1 368.5
14.2
Construction
28.2
26.3
-6.7
Transport(a)
1 249.1
1 340.1
7.3
Commercial(b)
235.4
249.5
6.0
Residential
398.0
423.6
6.4
Other(c)
77.6
79.2
2.1
Total
3 526.3
3 959.6
12.3

Note: Excludes electricity generation. Percentages may not be exact due to rounding. Consumption as depicted above is a net concept, in order to avoid double counting, the energy consumed in producing energy products for consumption in other sectors does not count toward the total energy consumption of the producing sector.
(a) Includes all transport use, including household motor vehicle use.
(b) Includes wholesale and retail trade, communications, finance and insurance, property and business services, government administration and defence, education, health and community services, cultural and recreational services, and person and other services, along with water, sewerage and drainage.
(c) Includes lubricants and greases, bitumen and solvents, as well as energy consumption in the gas production and distribution industries.
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 'Australian Energy Statistics - Australian Energy Update', 2007, Table B.

Household energy use by type

Almost all households in Australia (99%) use electricity for power and/or heating. In March 2005, electricity was the primary energy source for household cooking and hot water systems throughout Australia. However, electricity and gas were almost equally preferred for room heating.

Gas is the second most important source of energy for Australian households and was used in more than half of households (58%) in March 2005, particularly in the gas producing areas of Victoria and Western Australia.

Solar energy is primarily used by households for heating water. It was used by 4% of Australian households for this purpose in 2005. The Northern Territory had the largest proportion of households (42% in 2005) using solar energy to heat water.

The amount and type of energy used by households has considerable implications for the environment, including depletion of natural resources, greenhouse gas generation and air pollution.

Household energy use by type
Graph: Household energy use by type
Source: ABS, Environmental Issues: People’s Views and Practices, 2005 (cat. no. 4602.0)

Green Power generally refers to the electricity generated from renewable energy resources like solar, wind, biomass, wave and tidal power, hydro-electricity and geothermal. Green Power schemes enable consumers to pay a premium for electricity generated from renewable sources. The schemes have been operating in Australia for the past eight years in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. As of March 2005, there were 132,262 households belonging to a Green Power scheme (Endnote 1).

Household awareness of Green Power and willingness to pay extra
Graph: Household awareness of Green Power and willingness to pay extra
Source: ABS, Environmental Issues: People’s Views and Practices, 2005 (cat. no. 4602.0)

The graph demonstrates that although households were more aware of Green Power schemes in 2005 than previous years, they were less willing to pay extra for green power than previously.

Endnotes

1. National Green Power Accreditation Program, <http://www.greenpower.gov.au
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