As of 2023, Australia's electricity consumption largely relies on fossil fuels, accounting for over half of the energy supply at 61.52%. Coal takes up the lion's share of this at 54.39% of total energy usage. Low-carbon energy sources, however, make up close to 40% of the power supply. Of these, solar energy contributes more than 18% of the total energy consumption, making it the largest supplier among the low-carbon technologies. Wind energy comes in second, contributing just over 13% while hydropower contributes slightly less at nearly 7%.
There are a variety of ways Australia could move towards increasing its low-carbon electricity generation. As existing wind and solar energy already contribute the most among low-carbon sources, there is scope to expand these technologies further. Looking at the success of other countries, Denmark generates almost 60% of its electricity from wind, and Ireland, a third. To improve solar contribution, they could look to modelling countries that harness significant sunny climates. Also, introducing nuclear power which has been successful in France, Slovakia, and the Ukraine, contributing 66%, 61%, and 58% of their electricity respectively, could be a viable option.
The history of low-carbon electricity in Australia has seen a steady increase, but not without fluctuations. In the late 20th century, hydropower faced a slight downturn in 1980, but then saw an increase in 2011. Nevertheless, the following years saw interspersed gains and losses ultimately leading to an overall positive trajectory by 2018. The early 21st century has also seen an unprecedented growth in wind and solar energy generation, particularly from 2018 onwards. There's been a consistent increase in electricity production from wind and solar every year, with solar energy seeing a significant increase of 7.9 in 2023. Notably, there has not been any measurable production of nuclear energy in Australia thus far, and biofuels saw a small decrease in 2023.