State of the Environment Report 2009
Energy Sources

Indicator description

The sources of energy and the amount of energy from each source.

Why is it indicative?

Generating and consuming energy inevitably produces wastes that can be harmful to the environment. Different sources of energy have different environmental consequences. For example, the burning of fossil fuels releases a range of gases and particles, but the mix of gases varies between natural gas, various grades of coal, and petroleum. Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through increases in renewable energy sources such as wind can be tracked and documented by this indicator.

Types of Energy Sources










other non-renewable

other renewable

Source: Internal linkANZECC 2001

Data availability and limitations

  • The energy mix in Tasmania is changing with natural gas reticulation, Bass Link, and wind energy contributions to energy sources becoming increasingly important.
  • The ABARE data concerning refinery input and output for the production of petroleum products were not separately available due to confidentiality, but were included in totals where appropriate. Coke consumption was also unable to be published in ABARE because of confidentiality restrictions. It should also be noted that where the total energy consumption is quoted that it is the total quantity (in energy units) of primary and derived fuels consumed less the quantity of derived fuels produced.
  • Secondary impacts can occur in the energy supply stream that are not usually included in energy accounting e.g. construction and maintenance of infrastructure involved in such projects as hydro-electricity generation and wind farms (Internal linkNSW EPA 2000).
  • In Tasmania it is unclear if wind farms generate more energy over their life-time than they consume in their manufacture because of the lack of detailed studies in the State. However, Danish studies do indicate that a modern wind turbine does recover all energy consumed during its manufacture, operation, maintenance and decommissioning and this study has been deemed applicable to Tasmanian wind turbines (Internal linkHydro Tasmania 2003).


This indicator includes data from ABARE (Internal link2008) up to the period 2006-07.

Key energy consumption in Tasmania by fuel, 1960 - 2007

Key energy consumption in Tasmania by fuel, 1960 - 2007internal SOE link to larger image

Records for town gas and solar energy consumption in Tasmania began in 1973-74 (Internal linkABARE 2008) and they have remained minor energy sources since then. Variations in town gas consumption between 1973 and 2004, range from 0.05-0.18 PJ, with an increase of 0.01 PJ (10%) between 1998 and 2004. The consumption of solar energy has gradually increased since records began, but there was very little change between 1998 and 2007 apart from an unsustained 5% increase in the year 2000-02.

Energy Use (PJ) (%) by Energy Source in Tasmania (2003-04) and (2006-07)

Major Fuel Types Tas PJ (%) Tas PJ (%) Aust PJ (%) (a) Aust PJ (%) (a)
(2003-04) (2006-07) (2003-04) (2006-07)
Non-renewable fuels
Petroleum products 39.9 (36.1%) 40.6 (32.2%) 1881.9 (34.7%) 2000.8 (34.7%)
Black coal 9.8 (11.2%) 14.9 (11.8%) 1565.6 (28.9%) 1664.3 (28.8%)
Natural gas 8.0 (7.2%) 10.2 (12.8%) 1059.4 (19.5%) 1157.0 (20.1%)
Town gas 0.1 (0.1%) 0.1 (0.1%) 5.1 (0.1%) 7.8 (0.1%)
Renewable fuels
Hydro 35.4 (32.0%) 29.7 (23.6%) 56.7 (1.1%) 49.3 (1.0%)
Wood, woodwaste 13.1 (11.8%) 14.6 (11.6%) 97.2 (1.8%) 92.8 (1.6%)
Solar (b) 0.0 (0.0%) 0.0 (0.0%) 2.6 (0.0%) 2.4 (0.0%)
Thermal Electricity 5.3 (4.8%) 4.2 (3.3%) 809.6 (14.9%) 855.4 (14.8%)
Total Electricity 41.1 (37.2%) 46.3 (36.8%) 866.4 (16.0%) 941.3 (16.3%)
Total (c) 110.6 (100.0%) 125.9 (100%) 5422.4 (100.0%) 5769.80 (100%)

a) Only fuel types consumed in Tasmania are presented for comparative purposes.

b) Solar energy is utilised, but at present is still insignificant relative to the other fuel sources.

c) Total energy consumption is the total quantity (in energy units) of primary and derived fuels consumed less the quantity of derived fuels produced. Energy sources used in the production of derived fuels include coke, town gas and thermal electricity.

Coke consumption has not been published due to confidentiality restrictions.

Source: Internal linkABARE 2008

Renewable Energy Sources

Hydro-electric Energy

There are 28 hydro-electric stations (owned by Hydro Tasmania) in Tasmania across seven major catchments. They have a total installed capacity of approximately 2,260 MW. The total usable storage is equivalent to greater than 16 months of Tasmania's total electricity generation (Internal linkDIER 2004).

Hydro-electric installed capacity across Tasmania


Installed Capacity

Trevallyn/North Esk

80 MW

Mersey Forth

308 MW


475 MW

King River

143 MW


432 MW


515 MW

Great Lake

302 MW

Source: Internal linkDIER 2004

Over the year between 2004-2005 inflow into the hydro lakes dropped to around 75 % of average. This was the eighth straight year of below average inflow. Below average rainfall was recorded in hydro catchments for each month over this 12 month period (Internal linkHydro Tasmania 2005). This continued into 2008, where three years of drought conditions dropped capacity to 19.1% in June 2008 (Internal linkHydro Tasmania 2008). More information relating to water storage can be found in the water storage indicator.

Electricity generation method for Tasmania's electricity use 2004-2008

Electricity generation method for Tasmania's electricity use 2004-2008internal SOE link to larger image

Wind Energy

There are several wind farms in Tasmania. More detailed information on each of these is available through the links in the following table.

Wind energy capacity in Tasmania

Wind Farm Current Capacity Projected Capacity Projected greenhouse gas emission savings
(CO2-e, tonnes/yr)
Internal linkHuxley Hill 2.5 MW na 2,000
Internal linkWoolnorth 140 MW na 400,000
Internal linkMusselroe (under construction) na 129 MW 370,000
Internal linkHeemskirk (proposed) na 160 MW 420,000
Total 142.5 MW 289 MW 1,192,000

na = not applicable

Source: Internal linkDIER 2004 Internal linkABS 2003, and Internal linkRoaring Forties 2009

Natural Gas

Tasmania has been connected to the Australian natural gas network through the Tasmanian Natural Gas Project. An undersea transmission gas pipeline was constructed across Bass Strait, conveying natural gas from Victoria to Tasmania. Prior to this Tasmania was only consuming a very small amount of Town gas (see above graph).

Stage one of the Project began connection and gas supply in 2003 for large-medium industrial and commercial customers, and for some domestic customers close to the initial distribution network. In the second stage of the Project (commencing 2005), the connection and supply of gas to about 38, 500 Tasmanian households and other small businesses was anticipated to be completed by April 2007 (Internal linkDIER 2004), but has fallen well short with only 5,047 at June 30 2008 (Internal linkOffice of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator 2008).

Number of natural gas connections in Tasmania to 2008

Year No. Connections
2004-05 63
2005-06 858
2006-07 3064
2007-08 5047

Source: Internal linkOffice of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator 2008

Related Indicators

Energy UseInternal link

Related Issues

Within the structure of State of the Environment Tasmania, an indicator can be related or associated with any number of issue reports (or vice versa). The data within an indicator is used to inform an issue report and any related recommendations. A summary of this indicator, including it's relevance to the particular issue, can be found within the 'Indicator' section of each of the linked issue reports below.

Energy Sources and UseInternal link


Core Human Settlement Indicator HS 1 (Internal linkAustralian and Zealand Environment and Conservation Council et al. 2000)

  External linkTasmanian Planning Commissioninternal SOE link to larger image

  Contact the Commission on:

email: External
Phone: (03) 6233 2795 (within Australia)
Fax: (03) 6233 5400 (within Australia)
Or mail to: Tasmanian Planning Commission, GPO Box 1691, Hobart, TAS, 7001, Australia


Last Modified: 1 Mar 2010
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