Demand for Australia’s energy resources rising

The 2018 edition of the Australian Energy Resources Assessment (AERA), released last week, shows that domestic and international demand for Australia’s energy resources continues to rise, although the energy mix is changing.

AERA, developed by Geoscience Australia in collaboration with the Department of the Environment and Energy and support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, reports that Australia continues to have the world’s largest known economic uranium resources, the fourth largest coal (black and brown) resources and substantial conventional and unconventional gas resources.

According to the report, there is good potential for further growth of the non-renewable resource base through new discoveries. Identified resources of crude oil, condensate and liquefied petroleum gas are more limited and Australia is increasingly reliant on imports for transport fuels.

Australia also has plentiful and widely distributed wind, solar, geothermal, wave and tidal resources. Hydro energy resources have been extensively developed, and wind, solar and bioenergy resources are increasingly being exploited for electricity generation. Although adoption of offset technologies (e.g. geothermal heat pumps, solar hot water) has gradually increased, the other renewable energy resources remain largely untapped for electricity generation.

The report predicts that utilisation of renewable energy will continue to increase significantly to around 2020, reflecting government policies (e.g. the Renewable Energy Target) and falling installation costs. Advances in renewable energy generation and storage technologies and better mapping of resource potential will be important for continued uptake, and so will technologies and policies for grid integration.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the report indicated huge potential for investments in energy resources.

“Australia has in excess of 3,500,000 petajoules (PJ) of Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDRs) like coal, gas, oil and uranium. EDRs are resources assessed as potentially viable for future development by industry. This is nearly 600 times Australia’s total primary domestic energy consumption,” minister Canavan said.

“Together, coal, gas, oil and uranium make up more than 20 per cent of Australia’s total exports, and are projected to earn around $90 billion a year over the next five years alone.

“AERA confirms that we have substantial conventional gas resources, primarily offshore, and significant unconventional gas resources onshore.”

“To meet the needs of both industry and everyday Australians, it’s essential that we continue to invest in our gas sector,” Minister Canavan said.

“That’s why the Australian government has invested $90 million in gas security, reliability and affordability, which includes a $26 million program designed to accelerate new supplies from onshore gas developments to the domestic market,” he added.

AERA is available online at http://aera.ga.gov.au/