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Getting the picture on the problem
Student Research Sheet

Read the following information to expose a range of views and possible starting points for your consideration about the relationship between present energy use, ecological sustainability and future generations. If possible have the students up date the data on a grid to compare the last decades levels to as current as possible.

Take part in the webcasts for Sustainable Energy use - Tuesday March 7th.

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Energy consumption

Energy consumption in Australia increased by 4.4% in 1994-95 compared with an average increase of only 1.5% a year over the past 5 years. In 1994-95 particularly strong growth was recorded by natural gas (increasing by 7.6%) and petroleum products. Lower growth was recorded for the primary fuels with black coal, brown coal and renewables increasing by 2.4%, 3.7% and 2.6% respectively. Electricity consumption grew by 3.5% in 1994-95.

Crude oil currently accounts for 36% of total energy consumption, followed by black coal which accounts for 28%. The most notable changes in the pattern of energy use over the past 20 years has been the increase in the share of natural gas from 7% in 1974-75 to 18% in 1994-95.

Across the sectors, manufacturing, electricity generation and transport continued to dominate energy consumption, together accounting for almost 80% of the total. Growth in energy consumption in 1994-95 was strong in all sectors, in particular mining (9.6%) commercial (6.7%), transport (5.3%) and electricity generation (4.8%).

Energy production and trade

In 1994/95, an estimated 9589 petajoules of energy were produced in Australia, an increase of 6.1% over the previous year. Black coal accounted for the largest share of energy produced in Australia - 54%. Production of crude oil, natural gas and brown coal all increased while uranium production fell slightly.

The most substantial increase in production was black coal (8.1%) primarily to support export demand. Natural gas production increased by 7.7% to meet growing demand in the Australian Market and increases in LNG Exports. Australia continues to be a net exporter of energy, with approximately 70% of energy production in 1994-95 exported. Exports increased by 5.8% over the previous year, with the largest exported fuels (on an energy basis), black coal and uranium increasing by 5.9% and 1.9% respectively. Exports of natural gas also recorded strong growth of 20%.

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