How can we make cleaner energy choices in our homes and workplaces?
What’s the Problem?
We are at the cusp of a big transformation as our electricity sector transitions from a highly centralised high-carbon generation system, to more diversified, distributed and cleaner energy system. A big shift is coming as global trends shift away from high emissions coal and invest in cleaner technologies in a bid to combat climate change.
If we do not adequately address the need to reduce emissions, the impacts of climate change on our economy could potentially have profoundly damaging consequences on our economy, especially for sectors like agriculture and tourism. Yet, we need to ensure that a smooth, fair and expeditious transition to a clean energy system is does not compromise the reliability of electricity for households. Considering that 65 per cent of our coal-fired electricity generators will be past their design life between now and 2040, what are the protections that need to be put in place to ensure adequate supply?
As politicians debate over the best way the country can reduce emissions, what are your ideas on what we can do to make cleaner energy choices in our homes and workplaces?
- 81 per cent of Australians want the government to ‘focus on renewables, even if this means we may need to invest more in infrastructure to make the system more reliable’
- Yet, coal still produces around three-quarters of our electricity and our energy consumption by coal is still increasing – last year, our energy consumption by coal increased by 3 per cent.
- Renewable energy only supplied 3 per cent of Australia’s electricity in 2016. Comparatively, about 40 per cent of Germany’s electricity is renewably generated.
- Renewable energy is now the cheapest kind of new power generation that can be built today, less than both new coal and new gas-fired power plants. Large-scale solar is almost half the cost it was just a couple of years ago, and is now playing a huge role in meeting the national Renewable Energy Target (REM).
- The electricity sector is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, producing around one-third of total national emissions.
- A study by CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia (ENA) predict up to 66 per cent of households will generate some energy by 2050.Tasmania is the leading state in the use of renewable energy, with renewable energy supplying more than 90 per cent of the state’s electricity largely thanks to hydropower. This is followed by South Australia (48 per cent), Victoria (16 per cent), Western Australia (13 per cent), New South Wales (12 per cent) and Queensland (5 per cent).
- Although Queensland is the state with the greatest proportion of households with solar panels installed.The area of roof space available in Australia is enough to provide all of the nation’s electricity, using solar panels.
- In 2016, small-scale solar was responsible for 16 per cent of Australia's clean energy generation and produced 2.8 per cent of the country's total electricity. More than 1.64 million small-scale solar power systems were installed across the country by the end of 2016.
- Interested in getting in on solar energy for your home to avoid high electricity prices? You have two options - either rooftop solar panels or solar hot water systems. Read more about the difference between the two.
- Electricity generation systems via the conversion of solar and wind resources are becoming increasingly accessible to the average homeowner. They can be expensive to install but rebates and other financial incentives are available that can offset the initial cost. Find out what rebates you can get at this website.