Department of the Environment

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Publications archive - Ecologically Sustainable Development


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Are We Sustaining Australia? Report Against Headline Sustainabilty Indicators

Environment Australia, 2002
ISBN 0 642 54771 8

Value 11: Management of Natural Resources: Energy

Rationale for inclusion of issue

Energy use is a major enabling and limiting factor on the economy, as well as being important for individual and community well-being. The production and use of energy has environmental impacts on biodiversity, ecological systems and communities. Renewable energy are those forms that never run out or can be replaced indefinitely, unlike fossil fuels. Generally, the use of renewable energy is more sustainable than other energy sources.

Indicator 13

(i) Renewable energy use as a proportion of total in 1998-99


(ii) Total renewable and non-renewable energy use (includes conversion losses) in 1998-99

4858 PJ

Source: ABARE Energy Update 1998-99

Rationale for selection of indicators

This indicator will track the proportion of renewable energy used as well as changes in overall energy use.

Explanatory and elaborative information

Renewable energy resources are those that can be used at a rate which can be sustained indefinitely. The main forms are hydro-electricity, solar, wind generators and biomass generators. Over the two decades prior to 1997-98, the estimated contribution to Australia's energy consumption from renewable sources increased by 39%. It decreased, however, as a proportion of total energy consumption from 7% to 6%. In 1996-97 it was estimated that the share of renewable energy in national electricity production was about 10%.

The Government's renewable energy target seeks to increase the contribution of renewable energy sources in Australia's electricity mix by 9,500 GWh per year by 2010, enough power to meet the residential electricity needs of four million people. The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, that supports the implementation of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, was passed by Federal Parliament on 8 December 2000 and is expected to reduce projected greenhouse gas emissions at 2010 by up to seven million tonnes.

Supplementary indicators