Electricity is an integral part of our modern life that powers our homes, businesses, and communities. Australia uses fossil fuels, biofuel, and reusable energy to produce electricity.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at how Australia generates its electricity and what sources are used to meet the country’s energy demands.
What Are The Sources Of Electricity In Australia?
Australia generates electricity from a mix of sources, including coal, natural gas, hydro, wind, solar, and biomass. As of 2021, coal is still Australia’s largest source of electricity, with 51% of the country’s total generation. Natural gas is the second largest source, accounting for around 18%, and oil is 2% of the total generation. In comparison, renewable sources like Solar (12%), wind (10%), and hydro (6%) also contribute to total generation.
Fossil Fuel Electricity Generation
Coal is a fossil fuel used for centuries to generate electricity. In Australia, coal is primarily used to generate steam, which then drives a turbine to produce electricity. Coal-fired generation is a reliable source of electricity and is currently the largest source of electricity in the country. In 2021, the electricity generation from coal was 51% of the total. However, it is also one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, making it a controversial energy source.
Natural Gas Generation
Natural gas is another fossil fuel that is commonly used to generate electricity. In Australia, natural gas is burned to heat water, which produces steam that drives a turbine to generate electricity. Natural gas is a cleaner-burning fuel compared to coal, making it a more environmentally-friendly alternative. However, the extraction of natural gas has its own set of environmental concerns, including the release of methane into the atmosphere during the production process.
Renewable Energy Electricity Generation in Australia
Hydro and Wind Generation
Hydro and wind are renewable sources of energy that are used to generate electricity. Hydroelectric power plants generate electricity by using the movement of water to drive a turbine, while wind turbines generate electricity from the kinetic energy of the wind. Both hydro and wind are clean sources of energy that produce minimal greenhouse gas emissions. However, the availability of hydro and wind resources can be affected by weather conditions, making them less reliable sources of energy compared to fossil fuels.
Solar and Biomass Generation
Solar and biomass are also renewable sources of energy that are used to generate electricity. Solar panels use the energy of the sun to generate electricity, while biomass energy plants generate electricity by burning organic materials, such as wood chips or agricultural waste. Both solar and biomass are clean sources of energy that produce minimal greenhouse gas emissions. However, the availability of solar energy is dependent on weather conditions, and the production of biomass energy can be limited by the availability of feedstocks.
Australia generates its electricity from a mix of sources, each with pros and cons. The Australian government has been working on net zero emissions for the last few decades. To achieve this, they are targeting to double the level of renewable energy generation each decade from now to 2050.