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December developments in energy industry

New figures show solar power is fast catching on in australia  16000646 800522019 0 0 14090149 300

December has only just begun, but some significant development have already come to pass in the energy industry. From a prediction of a boom in resources and growth in green energy, to rumours surrounding asset sales, there is a lot going on.

Australian resources to expand

The nation is currently transitioning from the investment phase of the resources boom to the next level, which is production, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).

Australia has been in the investment phase for the last ten years as growing global commodity prices increased the need for resources and energy projects.

More recently, the cost of commodities has dropped and it has also become more expensive to invest.

Over the past twelve months, completed projects have contributed to the increase in the nation's production capacity, which will support further strong commodity export volumes.

Now, Australia's focus has moved from investment to production, which means we may see fewer projects kick off in the medium term, according to Wayne Calder, deputy executive director of BREE.

Exports to Asia to rise

Demand for natural gas and other fossil fuels in Asia looks set to increase and it is predicted that Australia will step in to cover the gaps.

The International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2013 has forecast that China will be the world's biggest importer of oil and India the largest coal importer by the early 2020s.

It is thought Australia will become the largest exporter of LNG by 2020.

Increased demand from Asia may come at a price, with greenhouse gas emissions also increasing. These emissions are predictedto increase by 20 per cent to 37.2 gigatonnes by 2035, according to IEA's mid-range scenario.

If this is the case, the Earth's temperature could rise by 3.6 degrees. Currently an international agreement is targeting to reduce this to a maximum of a two degree rise.

Record numbers of solar power on rooftops of Australia

In solar power news, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has reported that over 3 gigawatts of solar power has been installed on Australian rooftops.

Almost a third of this energy has come from Queensland.

Of the 1.15 million Aussie households with solar panels on their roofs, 360,000 of them are in Queensland and 252,000 in New South Wales.

The amount of solar power generated by the entire country will produce enough clean energy in the space of one year to run Melbourne's entire train network for a decade, according to CEC chief executive David Green.

These panels will produce over 4,000 gigawatt hours of power over the next year, according to the Clean Energy Regulator.

According to the CEC, that's the same amount of energy it would take to power the Sydney Opera House for 230 years, or Canberra's parliament for 160. Or, it could light up the MCG for 520 years or make 1050 toasted sandwiches for every Australian with a standard press!

CEC spokesperson Mr Green said this increase in solar power usage has come from the working class suburbs and regional areas.

Those interested in receiving help to go solar can get assistance from the Renewable Energy Target scheme, which can reduce the up-front costs of going solar.

Queensland energy companies not for sale

The Costello Audit suggested the option of privatising Queensland's energy companies in order to reduce state debt.

Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, has made a statement to allay fears that the government intends to sell public energy companies.

While the government may consider selling infrastructure such as electrical poles, wires and generators, key public energy companies such as Energex, Ergon and Powerlink are not going to be put on the chopping block.

"We have made it clear in response to the Commission of Audit there is potential to look at some other key parts of Queensland's asset portfolios," he said at the annual CEDA State of the State Conference in Brisbane on December 4.

But the Costello Audit recommended privatisations and the Government is considering selling electricity generators and leasing the Townsville and Gladstone ports.

Treasurer of the Queensland government, Tim Nicholls, said the potential change in ownership would not necessarily alter consumers electricity prices.

"The price of power is not something that is controlled by any government on the east coast of Australia but what I'm saying is that ownership of those assets have made very little difference," he said In an interview on 612 ABC radio on December 4.

The debate was kickstarted by Premier Newman, according to Courier Post journalist Steven Wardill, who wrote on December 4 that Mr Newman had flagged government plans to sell off assets in order to reduce debt and finance popular infrastructure projects.

Mr Newman said the government would not sell assets "unless we were satisfied, that is what Queenslanders want us to do," according to the Brisbane Times.

Posted by Liam Tunney.