Planet Earth is pretty neat, and electricity is very useful. However, the two have long been at odds, with the generation of the latter proving to be fairly bad for the health of the former. Thankfully, things are changing in Australia.
Consumers, government and the private sector are becoming increasingly aware of the impact traditional sources of energy are having on the environment, which is one reason why they’re seeking alternative methods of electricity production. At the same time, the cost of the technology that supports the creation and storage of renewable energy is becoming more affordable and driving the cost of sustainable electricity down.
But first you should understand what the future looks like for renewable energy in our fair nation.
Breaking down the Renewable Energy Target
One key driving force leading Australia down the path to a greener future is the Renewable Energy Target (RET). As the Department of the Environment explained, under this initiative, 23.5 percent of Australia’s electricity will be generated from renewable energy resources by 2020.
The Clean Energy Regulator noted that the RET can be broken down into two parts:
- Large-scale target: This provides financial incentives for the development of renewable energy infrastructure, including solar and wind farms, and hydro-electric power stations.
- Small-scale scheme: This encourages small businesses and individuals to adopt small-scale renewable energy systems through financial incentives. Eligible technology includes hydro systems, wind turbines, solar water heaters, air source heat pumps and solar photovoltaic panels.
The RET will play a central role in helping ‘green electricity’ become a more accessible part of Australia’s energy industry. As renewable energy continues to become more widespread, comparing green plans may enable you to find a more eco-friendly provider while also saving on your power bill, but it helps to know when to switch.
How is renewable energy generated?
In Australia, renewable energy is generated in a number of different ways. According to the Clean Energy Council, Hydro accounts for the majority of clean electricity (45.9 per cent), followed by wind (30.9 per cent) and household and commercial solar (15.3 per cent). Bioenergy and large-scale solar lag a little further behind, and are responsible for 7.4 per cent and 0.4 per cent of Australia’s sustainable energy respectively. We’ve previously discussed these renewable options (and how they work) in detail.
What are the benefits of renewable energy?
It goes without saying that investing in renewable energy has long-term benefits for the environment. Reducing the country’s dependency on fossil fuels and minimising harmful greenhouse gas emissions will help preserve the condition of Australia’s air, water and unique natural assets for generations to come.
However, it’s worth noting that renewable energy also comes with some very tangible economic benefits that could have a positive impact on you as a consumer. For example, the Clean Energy Council estimated that the average Australian household will save around $140 per year on their power bill. When used in conjunction with energy provider comparison tools, it’s possible that going green could help you save substantially on your electricity expenses.
Australia’s future has never looked brighter – or greener. Be sure to explore our other renewable energy pages for further insight into the various methods of sustainable energy production, and get a better understanding of whether ‘going green’ is right for you.