In 2021, Australia’s economy was ranked 13th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on export of iron ore, coal, liquified natural gas, gold, aluminum oxide, cattle, sheep, goats, and wool.
In 2009, the Australian government established a renewable energy goal of generating 20% of the country’s electricity from renewable energy by 2020.
In 2016, Australia signed the Paris Climate Agreement and committed to a 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, based on 2005 levels.
In 2021, utilities used coal (50.8 %), renewable energy (29.7 %), natural gas (17.8 %) and oil (1.7 2%) to generate electricity in Australia. Solar, wind, and hydropower are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Australia.
Recent renewable energy projects in Australia include:
- 1,200 MW Wind + 600 MW Solar + 900 MW Energy Storage Project – In December 2021, French renewable energy company, Neoen commissioned the Goyder South wind, solar, and energy storage project in the state of South Australia.
- 1,130 MW Wind Project – Australian wind energy company, Westwind Energy is continuing work on the Golden Plains Wind Farm in the state of Victoria. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2025.
- 923 MW Wind Project – Spanish multinational company, Acciona is continuing work on the MacIntyre Wind Farm in the state of Queensland. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2024.
- 840 MW Solar Project – British energy company, BP has announced plans to build the Sandy Creek Solar project in the state of New South Wales. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2026.
- 550 MW Solar Project + 400 MW Energy Storage Project – Australian renewable energy company, Maoneng has announced plans to build a solar plus energy storage project in state of New South Wales. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2025.
- 520 MW Solar + 296 Energy Storage Project – British energy company, BP has announced plans to build the Goulburn River agrivoltaic plus energy storage project in the state of New South Wales.
- 400 MW Solar + 200 MW Energy Storage Project – Australian renewable energy company UPC/AC Renewables is continuing work on the Stubbo solar plus energy storage project in the state of New South Wales.
- 400 MW Solar Project – British energy company, BP is continuing work on the Wellington North solar project in the state of New South Wales. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
- 210 MW Wind + 107 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, Spanish utility, Iberdrola commissioned the Port Augusta wind-solar hybrid project in the state of South Australia.
- 255 MW Solar Project – In November 2020, Australian renewable energy company, the Maoneng Group commissioned the Sunraysia Solar Farm in the state of New South Wales.
- 200 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, Spanish renewable energy company, X-Elio commissioned the Blue Grass Solar Farm in the state of Queensland.
Coal mining began in Australia in 1799. Coal was first exported from Australia in 1801 to India.
Australia has long been dependent on coal for domestic power. The export of coal and natural gas has also been an integral of Australia’s economy. In 2020, Australia was the second largest exporter of coal and the largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG) in the world.
Australia has massive undeveloped wind and solar resources. The cost to generate electricity from power plants fueled by coal, oil, or natural gas is significantly more expensive than electricity from wind or solar power plants.
Australia is cooling on coal for domestic power, however the country’s carbon foot print from the export of coal and liquified natural gas is one of the largest in the world.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a wide range of energy topics.
 Trading Economics, “Access To Electricity (% of Population) – Australia”
 Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer
 The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Australia
 Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”
 Our World In Data, Australia: Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser
 M. B. Huleatt Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Australian Mineral Industry Quarterly, 34 (1981).
 Statista, “The World’s Biggest Coal Exporters” by Katharina Buchholz, May 21, 2021