Renewable Energy Crowded Out

THE proportion of Australia’s energy produced from renewable sources such as wind and hydro has declined dramatically over the past 50 years, a new report shows.

Despite all the policy implementations and public awareness campaigns, Australian’s are getting a smaller proportion of their energy from renewable sources.

The report by consultancy group Green Energy Markets showed that in 1960, renewable energy provided 19 per cent of the grids electricity compared to just 7 per cent today.  Coal-fired power, which produced nearly 200 million tonnes of green house gas in 2008, had risen 1200 per cent and currently provides over 80 per cent of our electricity.

The ratio of renewable energy to coal-fired power on the main national electricity network has declined slightly from 11 per cent in 2001 to 10 per cent in 2009.  The image below shows the share of CO2 emissions associated with the different generation methods.


This has occurred despite policy targets such as the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target which aims to ensure 20 per cent of electricity is produced from renewable sources by 2020.

Such initiatives are fantastic but as yet have been all carrot and no stick.  Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria’s campaign director, said:

“[The findings] highlight that we are going to need a broad mix of renewable energy technology,”.

A price on carbon is still the most effective way to reduce Australia’s dependence on Coal power.

”Until someone who is polluting stops polluting, or pollutes less, we are not going to see a fall in our national emissions.”

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