5 surprising facts about where our energy comes from

2 min read

Whether turning on the light, kettle or toaster, or sitting in darkness when there is a blackout, electricity not only runs our homes and businesses, but in many cases is the unsung hero in our life. So we thought it would be fun to share a few interesting tidbits about where our energy actually comes from…

1. Coal is the number one source of energy generation in Australia1.

Like it or lump it, Coal remains as the number one fuel-source for energy generation, accounting for 63%. Whilst the issue of coal-fired generation can be divisive, its contribution as an energy fuel has reduced, with coal accounting for almost 80% of energy generation in 2000. 


2. Solar battery installation increased by 300% between 2016-2017

Mum's and Dad’s all over our sunburnt country have taken heed of the opportunity to protect themselves from the volatility of electricity prices by investing in solar energy storage systems i.e. batteries. In 2017, close to 21,000 solar batteries were installed in homes across Australia, a 300% increase within one year. This is in partnership with the estimated 1.5 million households who have installed rooftop solar energy systems.


3. Renewables are on the rise...albeit slowly

According to ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency), over $1Bn of renewable energy projects have been supported to date, with a further $3.5Bn projects in the pipeline3. In 2017, renewable generation grew by 6% to represent 16% of Australia’s total energy generation. The largest proportion of renewable electricity was sourced from solar, followed by hydro and wind generated energy. Tasmania and South Australia are the biggest generators of renewable electricity across the country4.


4. Electricity first came to Australia in the 1800’s

We’ve been using Electricity in Australia since the 1800’s. The town of Tamworth, home of country music, was also the first place in Australia to implement electric street lighting provided by a municipal power company4. On the 9th November, 1888 - 52 electrical lights illuminated the streets of the town. It would take Sydney, another 16 years before it did the same!


5. Your household rubbish can be used to generate electricity

Across Australia, there are a number of facilities that are utilising household waste to generate electricity. The breakdown of non-recyclable waste generates methane, a harmful greenhouse gas, but also a fuel for the generation of electricity. In Tarago, 250 km's south of Sydney, the Woodlawn Bioreactor creates green energy from methane, generating enough energy to power 24,000 homes per year. Further, within Western Australia, the first Waste-to-Energy plant in Australia was recently approved6, which will see 400,000 tonnes of rubbish used to power the 36MW capacity plant. It is expected that not only with the plant supplement the State’s strained energy grid, it will also reduce C02 emissions by 200,000 tonnes per year, which equals some 43,000 cars off the road. Veolia will be delivering the Operations and Maintenance of the Plant, once it is commissioned. 


1. Australian Energy Update 2018, Australian Government
2. Sunwiz 2018 Battery Market Report
3. Arena.gov.au - What Is Renewable Energy 

4. Australian Energy Update 2018, Australian Government
5. ABC.net.au - How Tamworth became our first town with Electrict Street Lights
6. Green Light For Kwinana