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In examining Australia's energy production it is important to distinguish between primary and derived (or secondary) energy. Primary energy products are forms of energy obtained directly from nature, including non-renewable fuels such as coal, natural gas and crude oil, and renewable fuels such as wood, hydro-electricity and wind. Derived energy products are fuels produced from another fuel, commonly a primary energy product. Derived energy products include electricity, petroleum products such as petrol and diesel, and coke (Bush et al. 1999).
Graph 17.6 shows the production of non-renewable and renewable energy sources from 1974-75 to 2001-02. During this period, the production of non-renewable fuels has shown an upward trend. In contrast, there has been little growth in the combined production of primary renewable energy sources (wood, bagasse, hydro-electricity and solar). Although production of renewable energy products increased from 204 PJ in 1974-75 to 241 PJ in 2001-02, its share of total primary energy production fell from around 6% to less than 2% over this period (ABARE 2004).
Derived energy production
Australia produces a variety of derived (or secondary) energy products. In 2001-02 petroleum refineries converted 44,907 ML of crude oil and other refinery feedstocks into petroleum fuels and non-fuel products, including 18,727 ML of petrol, 13,503 ML of diesel, and 5,212 ML of aviation turbine fuel. Operators of coke ovens and blast furnaces, typically part of the metal product manufacturing industry, converted 4,219 kt of black coal into 3,370 kt of coke (table 17.7).
In 2001-02 electricity generation was primarily undertaken by the electricity supply industry, but electricity was also generated by individual businesses. These businesses either directly use the electricity (called own-use) or sell the electricity to other users (called secondary generation). Total electricity generated in 2001-02 was 216,316 GWh. Of this 205,407 GWh (or 95%) was generated by the electricity supply industry and by secondary generators for sale, and 10,909 GWh (5%) was generated by other businesses for their own-use (table 17.7). Further statistics on the supply and use of electricity are provided in the section Energy use.
The electricity supply industry has undergone substantial structural change over the last decade. The 1991 decision to introduce a national electricity market has resulted in the replacement of the traditional state-owned vertically integrated monopolies with businesses that compete within the same marketplace. Employment, sales and turnover continue to be affected by the changes caused by industry restructuring. Employment increased by 551 persons (2%) to 33,435 persons in 2000-01 (table 17.8). Turnover in the electricity supply industry increased nationally by $2.0b (8%) to $27.4b. The majority of this increase was accounted for by a growth in the value of sales of goods and services of $1.5b (6%) to $25.4b although much of the increase was due to the statistical effects of industry restructuring rather than real growth.