Australia’s energy prospects are promising: the country has abundant reserves of fossil fuels as well as significant renewable energy potential.
The main problem is the size of Australia, which means that the delivery of energy fuel is costly – both in energy and financial terms.
1. Australia’s unique location and vast energy reserves.
Australia’s energy policy differs considerably from that of other Western countries because of its geographic location and the nature of its domestic energy reserves, especially uranium and coal. Australia is currently on the verge of ignoring the climate change measures taken in Paris by state officials and global warming advocates, despite its vast energy reserves. Australia has huge coal reserves and uranium reserves will last for hundreds of years. Australia could use nuclear power to act independently in the energy sector, unlike Singapore. We examined Singapore’s energy policy in more detail in a previous article.
Australia is a country with enormous energy reserves, a young country that has not yet found its way in terms of energy policy, which could be independent in terms of energy policy, but which depends on faraway countries for trade and the military.
Given these distances, it makes sense to reduce energy costs wherever possible. The carbon tax is currently one of the most important energy policy issues in Australia. The question is how to calculate the carbon tax, which is very important for the calculation of a carbon tax, among other things for the disposal of energy technologies used for energy production.
The Australian government and the business community, including Australian metals producers, who are generally in favour of a carbon tax because of public pressure, but who attach particular importance to how the carbon tax is applied, how it is calculated and whether it is applied to all industries other than energy-intensive industries, are clearly against such an idea.
2. Australian industry is highly dependent on cheap energy and faces huge logistics costs.
On the one hand, it is the broad mass of the Australian population that are in favour of the introduction of the carbon tax, because in Australia the Green Party is the main party in parliament. However, little attention is paid to the fact that, for example, steel construction, the cement and aluminium industries or the mining industry are the backbone of Australia’s industrial production, without which the country would become economically dependent on other countries, especially East and South Asian countries, which are currently increasing their low-cost industrial production. This would then be exactly the opposite of what we really want to achieve, as the goal remains energy independence.
The carbon tax should take into account the fact that subsequent generations should also pay a price for the environmental damage caused and the elimination of that damage. Nuclear power plants will be worse off in the short term, but considering the long-term costs of many renewables such as wind and solar, it may come as a surprise that nuclear power in Australia is sheltered on the basis of carbon credits.
Because wind and solar energy sources also have to be replaced at some point and their disposal is extremely costly and most technical components cannot be reused.
3. Australia has a growing population with an immense energy demand.
Australia’s population explosion inevitably requires a rethink of the country’s energy policy, as energy security must first and foremost be guaranteed for the growing population.
Australia’s population is growing rapidly, especially in major cities where a large proportion of the population comes from overseas. Nearly a third of the Australian population is not even native Australian, but an immigrant. This is one of the highest immigration rates in the world.
It must also be taken into account that a very large proportion of Australians live in the suburbs of major cities and that, despite Australia’s phenomenal size, only a marginal part of the country is used for urban housing. There is an imbalance because the energy supply has to be guaranteed by large distributors, which also explains why the telecommunications and energy infrastructure is more disrupted than in other countries.
4. Australia’s rich uranium deposits
With a growing population, Australia needs reliable and cost-effective energy sources such as uranium. But as described above, there is enormous resistance to the civilian use of uranium in Australia.
The use of nuclear energy and the extraction of uranium-containing rock is the most sensible energy policy for Australia from the point of view of energy security, but of course it includes the risks of long-term disposal security and risks in the operation of the plants.
Australia has the largest uranium reserves in the world, ahead of Kazakhstan. This gives an impression of the enormous potential that lies dormant in Australian soil when it sees the light of day. Australia also has ideal conditions for the long-term storage of radioactive waste, the Pangean Rock in Western Australia, a rock formation that, because of its geological age, allows for the storage of radioactive waste for extremely long periods of time.
But although Australia exports yellow cake to every country in the world, there is no proof that it is ready to dump radioactive waste inside the Australian continent. However, it must be taken into account that a third of Australia’s energy exports come from materials containing uranium and that there is a certain moral responsibility.
Renewable energy will not be able to cover all of Australia’s energy demand because of the enormous distances between power plants and points of consumption.
Production areas favourable to wind energy are often far away from the receiving sites. For example, the west of the country is very well suited for wind energy production, but western Australia is sparsely populated. As a result, power grids will need to be extended, transformers will be required, and the power grid infrastructure will need to be monitored and maintained at regular intervals. The country’s population is concentrated in southeast Australia.
In the case of a local power supply in the southeast of the country, Australia could face the same bottlenecks as the European Union and Germany in particular. Hydropower could compensate for fluctuations in wind and solar power, but Australia’s potential is very limited.
Australia’s climate is also subject to large annual fluctuations and cyclical weather patterns that affect electricity generation. This also limits their benefits to electricity consumers, as electricity is needed at any time of day, preferably without electricity consumption peaks.
Another problem is the fact that electricity generated in Australia from renewable energy sources cannot compete in terms of price with electricity generated by nuclear power plants. The reason for this is of course the huge uranium deposits.
Despite all these circumstances, Australia has excellent conditions for generating electricity from renewable energy sources.
Australia also has enormous potential in the use of solar energy. However, public and government initiatives are needed to exploit these energy resources.