3 energy trends to watch out for in 2015

Oil and natural gas prices will continue to have a complicated relationship in 2015 171 6002067 0 14102065 300

With 2015 well underway, many Australians are thinking about how they can reduce their energy costs this year. It's a volatile time for energy in Australia, with many policymakers still debating over whether or not the country should commit to renewables on a large scale. As you plan your budget, keep an eye on these changes we may see in the Australian energy market in 2015.

Solar could bring down costs

Solar power is getting cheaper and more widespread, with Global Energy Markets reporting that the addition of solar systems helped bring electricity demand down by 1.1 per cent in 2014. In fact, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures confirmed that 1 in 5 Australian households now uses solar technology - roughly 20 per cent. With so many Aussies deciding to add solar power into their home systems, overall demand decreases, causing electricity costs to fall.

Coal may continue to trend down and out

Many industry experts also predict that the coal industry will continue to see losses throughout the coming year as Australia's energy climate transitions to cleaner alternatives. Coal mines saw many closures in 2014, something that is predicted to continue into the coming year.

"The closure of more than 20 million tons of capacity has been announced, and it is likely that further production cuts will be announced during 2015," the Australian Department of Industry said in a report.

These closures will also likely affect the price of coal, though this is unlikely to have major effects for consumers themselves.

"Metallurgical coal prices are expected to remain subdued until these announced closures materialize and further capacity is closed," the department stated.

Oil and gas will have a complicated relationship

Oil prices were high at the onset of 2014, but they have since decreased dramatically. This, in turn, has reduced demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG), a relationship many experts will continue watching with interest.

The price of oil and gas will likely remain in flux, both for consumers at home and for those who receive Australia's energy exports, such as Japan.

" … increased supply from Australia's new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Queensland state will create added downward price pressure," stated Anthony Fensom in an article for The Diplomat.

That downward trend will likely affect prices both at home and abroad, at least throughout early 2015.