“Land Down Under” Turning Turn From Coal, But……

National Economy

The Commonwealth of Australia, also known as the “Land Down Under” has a population of approximately 25.72 million[1]. In 2018, 100% of the people in this country had access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Australia’s economy was ranked 14th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on export of iron ore, coal, liquified natural gas, gold, copper, uranium, cattle, sheep, and wheat.

Environment Policies

In 2009, the Australian government established a renewable energy target of generating 20% of the country’s electricity from renewable energy by 2020.

In 2016, Australia signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4] and committed to a 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, based on 2005 levels.

In 2019, Australian utilities used coal (56%), natural gas (23%) and renewable energy (21%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Wind, solar, and hydropower are the primary sources of renewable energy in Australia.

Recent renewable energy projects in Australia include:

  • 1,200 MW Wind + 600 MW Solar + 900 MW Energy Storage Project – In March 22021, French renewable energy company, Neoen commenced work on the Goyder South wind, solar, and energy storage project, which is located 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, which is located in the state of Victoria.
  • 923 MW Wind Project – In March 2021, Spanish multinational company, Acciona announced that construction on the MacIntyre Wind Farm, which will be located in the state of Queensland is scheduled to begin in 2021 and commissioned in 2024.
  • 300 MW Solar + 200 MW Hydrogen + 100 MW Energy Storage Project – In March 2021, British solar company, Eco Energy World announced plans to build a hybrid solar, hydrogen and energy storage project in the state of Queensland.
  • 210 MW Wind + 107 MW Solar Project – Spanish utility, Iberdrola is continuing work on the Port Augusta wind-solar hybrid project in the state of South Australia. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 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 – Spanish renewable energy company, X-Elio is continuing work on the Blue Grass Solar Farm, which is located in the state of Queensland. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.


Coal mining in Australia[6] began near the city of New Castle in the state of New South Wales in 1799. Coal was first exported from Australia in 1801 to India.

Australia has long been dependent on coal for  power. However, the country is committed to reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions and dramatically increasing the use of renewable energy.

Australia is making a concerted effort to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy for domestic power. However, the country is still the largest exporter of coal and second largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG) in the world.

As a nation, Australia is on track to meet its 2016 Paris Climate Agreement targets. However, Australia’s total carbon footprint from its domestic use of fossil fuels and exports of coal and liquified natural gas is one of the largest in the world.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”



[1] Australia  Population (2021) – World Population Review, April 1, 2021

[2] Australia  – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] Australian Energy Statistics, Electricity Generation by Fuel Type 2019, energy.gov.au

[6] M. B. Huleatt Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Australian Mineral Industry Quarterly, 34 (1981).

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