The electricity industry in Australia makes a huge contribution to the country's wealth. In 2006-07 the electricity industry contributed $13 billion to the nation's GDP, representing 1.4% of the country's economy.
There are 9.5 million electricity customers throughout the country, with more than 87% of these being households. The majority of residential electricity connections are along the east coast, in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, where the majority of the Australian population lives.
an unsustainable reliance
Australia has great natural resources and a sophisticated energy industry which delivers highly efficient fuels at very cheap prices. The resources sector is vitally important to the wealth of Australia, due to both the jobs it creates and the national wealth received from exporting energy around the world and the tax revenue derived from those exports.
However, more than 90% of Australia's electricity comes from the burning non-renewable fossil fuels, and of that, around 80% comes from coal. Black coal, and to a lesser extent brown coal, is extremely efficient in producing energy, but is also credited as one of the leading causes global warming.
While Australia has ample fossil fuels like coal, we also have abundant access to renewable fuels such as the sun and wind. Falling water can be utilised to make hydro electricity and biomass is becoming increasingly used in some States. Despite our easy access to renewable resources, more research is needed to make these sources more efficient, cost effective and reliable to be a real alternative for electricity generation in Australia.