We’ve all heard the term ‘alternative energy’ but are you familiar with which countries are participating in these resources? The fact is alternative energy encompasses a myriad of sub-topics that include wind, water, geothermal, nuclear, and more. This page is brought you from benefits-of-recycling.com to educate you with some facts about what one of the driest continents in the world is doing in the field of alternative forms of energy.
Alternative Energy Australia / A world leader emerges…but who is it?
Among all the world countries, which derive energy from alternative sources, Australia demonstrates far from the best results in the development and implementation of renewable energy. According to the statistics, in 2006 Australia generated slightly more that 17 TWh of energy from renewable sources with over 16 TWh coming from hydroelectric power plants (hydrogen alternative energy), and only a tiny part of total produced electricity coming from solar and wind energy.
This figure is pretty modest in comparison with the USA, where 375 TWh of renewable energy is generated, China with its 576 TWh and other countries. Furthermore, the figures became even less impressive taking into consideration that Australia has vast natural resources and exclusively favorable climate with a lot of sunshine to develop alternative sources of energy.
Alternative Energy Australia / Playing Catch-Up
However, recent years introduced new promising steps in the development of alternative energy sources in Australia. The Government presented several incentives and programs for those, who develop alternative energy as well as for those, who utilize and install new systems in their households. In addition to large-scale educational campaign, explaining the benefits of ‘Green Energy’, Australia have started making significant progress in the field of renewable energy sources.
Nowadays every person in Australia can make a personal contribution to the development of alternative energy by purchasing accredited GreenPower. This is the electricity, which was generated from renewable energy sources, such as wind, sun or water. GreenPower is available almost at every electricity retailer, but it costs more than electricity, produced in conventional ways. The price difference is explained by higher costs of producing electricity from alternative sources, but people are encouraged to buy GreenPower for its safety for the environment.
Alternative Energy Australia / What are the top alternatives in Australia?
Hydroelectricity is currently the major source of renewable energy in Australia in spite of the fact that the country does not have ideal condition for this particular type of energy generation (insufficient rainfall and plain terrain without rapid flowing rivers).
Tasmania was the first state, in which hydroelectric power plant was built back in 1895; and now it is the state, where major part of electricity is derived from water power by Tasmania’s Hydro-Electric Corporation, which is the second largest hydroelectricity power production facility in Australia after Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.
By the way, the latter is considered to be one of the civil engineering wonders of the modern world. Consisting of 16 major dams, 7 power stations (two of which are underground), 145 km of trans-mountain tunnels and 80 km of aqueducts, Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme provides 70% of all renewable energy, available at the eastern mainland grid of Australia.
Solar energy is a highly promising alternative source of renewable energy, especially in Australia. After recognizing all the hazards associated with conventional fossil fuels, people started to develop and widely implement photovoltaic (PV) panels to turn the energy of sun into clean and safe energy.
With the average cost of about USD 20 000 for a domestic solar system, these systems are still rarely used for generating energy at private houses. However, the Government of Australia initiated two programs, called Photovoltaic Rebate Programme and Remote Renewable Power Generation Programme, offering rebates for those, who decide to install solar system at their houses. It is also interesting to note that currently Australia is building the world biggest solar plant in Mildura, Victoria.
Wind power is currently a fast growing industry in Australia, especially in its southern parts. Currently there are 42 wind farms, operating in Australia, which produce about 1-3% of all electricity generated in this country.
Biofuels, mainly in the form of gasoline – ethanol mixtures, are also available in Australia. Ethanol for E10 fuel is mostly produced from sugarcane and grains in Queensland and New South Wales. However, in view of recent food versus fuel disputes, biofuel produced from oilseed crops or recycled cooking oil, seems to be more promising for further development in Australia.
Geothermal energy is another alternative source of energy for Australia. Though it is practically not used these days, it is estimated that geothermal energy potential in Australia can cover up to 7% of country power demands by year 2030. Several companies have already started the projects on exploration of areas with high temperature geothermal activity, which could be utilized for energy-generating purposes.
So, while Australia currently has not achieved record showings in alternative energy sources generation, the country possesses a significant potential for the development and implementation of clean energy especially that derived from sun and wind power.
Alternative Energy Australia / Sources
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