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Renewable Energy Across the Globe: Australia

Great steps have been made across the globe toward adopting more environmentally conscious energy sources. How each continent makes use of their varied resources is what sets them apart from each other.
Here’s what’s happening in Australia:

By the end of 2012 Australia was producing almost 30,000 GWh of electricity from renewable energy sources annually. The main renewable sources utilized in Australia are hydroelectric, and wind, with some smaller amounts produced from bioenergy, solar, and geothermal sources.

Currently in Australia there are over 3.2 GW of solar panels installed. Two commercial-scale PV power plants have been opened since 2011 with 1 MW and 10 MW capacities, respectively, and there are plans for many new solar power farms and stations in the future.

There are over 50 wind farms in Australia, with over 1000 turbines between them, which produce 5,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity each year, representing 2% of Australia’s total electricity, 23% of electricity from renewable sources, and enough to power over 700,000 homes. The largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere, in terms of area, the Waubra Wind Farm in Victoria, was completed in 2009 and produces 192 MW of electricity. The largest capacity wind farm is Lake Bonney Wind Farm, which produces around 240 MW, despite having 30 fewer turbines. An even larger farm was set to open in 2013 with a capacity of 420 MW.

Hydroelectricity represents almost 60% of renewable energy production on Australia, with several tidal energy projects in the works for the future.

Currently, a geothermal power plant in Queensland produces 80 kW of electricity. Geothermal energy is otherwise underutilized as a source of power. There are recorded potential locations with detectable geothermal activity with further exploration planned, however. It was the goal to have at least three power generation demonstration projects running by 2012.

Energy from biomass in Australia generally takes the form of ‘Bagasse’, or burning sugar cane waste. Together with burning wood, this accounts for 8% of renewable energy production in Australia.

Africa – lots of untapped potential
Antartcica – yes, even in Antarctica
Asia – find out how Japan is doing in response to the Fukushima nuclear accident and where the rest of Asia is at renewable energy
Australia – hydroelectricity accounts for almost 60% of their renewable energy
Europe – guess which country has the first commercial wave farm
North America – who is the world’s largest wind producer, Canada, Mexico or the United States?
South America – find out why it is the leader in electricity from renewable sources.

Kathryn Hannis

Kathryn spent the first half of her life in Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States. Then, just as she was about to begin her freshman year in high school, her family uprooted and transplanted to The Hague, the Netherlands, Europe. Kathryn studied Environmental Engineering at NAU, in Flagstaff, Arizona, and then later moved back to the Netherlands to get a Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Technology.

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