A report released by the Office of the Chief Economist has found that gas accounted for 24 per cent of energy consumption in Australia in 2014-15, highlighting the importance of gas in energy generation.

The Australian Energy Update 2016 found that energy consumption, after declining for two years – increased by one per cent in 2014-15.

The report is updated each year with the 2016 energy update containing the latest data for 2014-2015.

The report found that gas consumption has also increased by 1.3 per cent, and now accounts for almost a quarter of all energy consumption in Australia. Gas consumption is increasing at a faster rate than the consumption of any other fuel in Australia.

In 2014-15, Australia’s production of primary energy increased by four per cent which is consistent with trends in energy production over the past decade. This was supported by a five per cent increase in the production of natural gas, with coal seam gas accounting for 18 per cent of national gas production and almost half of eastern market gas production.

While Western Australia remained Australia’s largest producer of natural gas, producing nearly two-thirds of total gas production in 2014–15, Queensland production grew to 45 per cent, making the state Australia’s second largest producer. Queensland overtook Victoria, where production fell by 11 per cent.

Production of coal seam gas increased by 50 per cent in 2014–15 as new wells were drilled in Queensland to support the start of LNG exports from Gladstone. However, Western Australia still remains Australia’s largest gas producer, accounting for nearly two-thirds of total gas production.

Australia remains a net energy exporter, with exports accounting for nearly two-thirds of total energy production.

Energy exports rose by nearly five per cent in 2014-15, which was supported by a 7.7 per cent increase in LNG exports as new plants on the east coast began production.

The report found that LNG exports have more than doubled over the past decade, making it Australia’s fastest-growing energy export.

Overall, gas has become important for electricity generation in Australia, accounting for 21 per cent of electricity generation.

This increase is due, in part, to its ability to be quickly switched on and off, which makes it crucial in supporting increased use of intermittent wind and solar power.

Gas now generates more electricity generation than brown coal, almost five times the generation from wind and almost nine times that of solar. It has also been the primary fuel for electricity generation in Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia in 2014-15.

Lauren Cella

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