A report released by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) has predicted that total energy consumption in Australia will increase by around 29% over the period 2008-09 to 2034-35,  with electricity generation increasing by around 42% over the same period, driven by increased gas-fired and renewable sources.


Executive Director/Chief Economist of BREE, Professor Quentin Grafton, said the 1 per cent growth in primary energy consumption compared with 1.6 per cent over the last decade.


The fastest growing consumer of primary energy will be the mining sector, with average growth of 5.2 per cent a year expected over the projection period.

Relevant government policies that have been enacted are incorporated into BREE's assumptions including the Renewable Energy Target and the introduction of carbon pricing.


The projected 42 per cent growth in electricity demand over the projection period will see gross electricity generation rising from 245 terawatt hours in 2008–09 to 348 terawatt hours in 2034–35. This growth is expected to come from strong development of gas-fired electricity generation and renewable sources.


A key change over the projection period is the expected shift from coal-fired to gas-fired generation, with the proportion of coal-fired generation declining from 74 per cent to 38 per cent of electricity generation.


'The outlook for coal is highly dependent on technological developments in relation to carbon capture and storage', Professor Grafton said.


The use of renewable energy resources in electricity generation is expected to grow considerably at 6 per cent a year over the projection period, with the share of renewables in total electricity generation reaching up to 24 per cent in 2034–35.


Wind energy is projected to be the major driver of this growth.


Australian energy production (excluding uranium) is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 3 per cent over the projection period. At this rate, total production of energy is projected to more than double to 28 401 petajoules in 2034–35.

The exportable surplus of Australia's energy production is expected to increase from 56 per cent in 2008–09 to 74 per cent in 2034–35, rising by 4.1 per cent a year. The fastest growth is expected in LNG exports, which are projected to increase by 7.6 per cent a year.

Projections of declining oil production and constraints around petroleum refining suggest Australia's net trade position for crude oil and refined petroleum products will weaken over the projection period, with net imports projected to increase at an average rate of 3.1 per cent a year.


These energy projections are derived using the E4cast model, which is a dynamic partial equilibrium model of the Australian energy sector. The E4cast framework provides a detailed treatment of the Australian energy sector focusing on domestic energy use and supply.


The Australian Energy Projections to 2034–35 report is available at www.bree.gov.au.