A Sobering Energy And Emissions Report For Victoria

Victoria’s first comprehensive State of Environment Report was recently released with unsettling statistics on energy consumption in the state, particularly in relation to coal fired electricity generation and the lack of solar power uptake.

The report states that current patterns of resource use in Victoria are unsustainable and the Victorian ecological footprint is triple that of the world average, with energy generation and consumption having the biggest impact.

Some of the statistics in the report include:

  • Victoria’s  energy consumption has increased by over 80% over the last three decades and based on current trends, consumption will increase by close to 40% by 2030.
  • In excess of 85% of greenhouse gas emissions generated in Victoria originated with the energy sector.
  • 95% of Victoria’s electricity is source from the combustion of brown coal, the most emissions intensive source in Australia. 
  • Electricity is close to six times more polluting than natural gas per unit of energy delivered in the state
  • Only 4% of Victoria’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources with solar power contributing just 0.006%.
  • Electricity companies are extracting approximately 100,000 million litres of surface water per annum, around one quarter of the total water
    consumption of metropolitan Melbourne in 2006–07.
  • A further 120,000 million litres of groundwater is extracted each for the mining of coal, oil and gas for the state
  • Between 1990 and 2006, Victoria’s total greenhouse gas emissions skyrocketed by 12%

Author of the report, Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability headed by Dr Ian McPhail, has recommended The Victorian Government conduct a study to identify and overcome barriers to the development of a network of distributed renewable energy and gas-fired electricity generators in order to delay the need for more brown coal electricity generation.

Download the full report – State of the Environment Victoria 2008 (PDF)