Why do we need electricity?

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth remembering that in Australia, nearly every aspect of our lives relies on using energy. In fact, Australia’s economic growth and prosperity depend on having an adequate supply of reliable and affordable energy

Our population, geographic size, industrial diversity and abundant energy resources make us both a major producer and a major consumer of energy, both of which contribute significantly to our national economy.

Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of energy resources, such as coal, gas and uranium. Energy also supports all of Australia’s industries, such as mining, manufacturing, agriculture, as well as smaller enterprise and businesses. 

Globally, we are the twentieth largest energy consumer, and fifteenth in terms of per person energy use.1 As our national economy and population continues to grow, it’s natural to expect that Australia’s energy demand and consumption will too.

While we have a reliable supply in Australia, it’s important to note that globally not everyone has the same standard. 

Access to reliable energy is a key indicator of living standards. Not having that reliable access places people in ‘energy poverty’, which affects over one billion people worldwide.2 

The cost of electricity

The rising cost of electricity is a key issue for many Australians and it’s a topic that generates a lot of media attention and political debate. 

The energy industry is changing as it adapts to broader issues, such as the growing population, climate change, government policies and new technologies like smart meters and grids. So, for a range of reasons, electricity prices have gone up.

While the majority of Australians have access to energy, it doesn’t mean everyone finds it easy to pay for it. However, you may be surprised to learn that we experience reasonably low electricity prices when compared with other countries. Read more about this from the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.


  1. Geoscience Australia 2012, energy basics, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.
  2. International Energy Agency (IEA) 2014, energy poverty, IEA.

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