Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Australia 2001

International Energy Agency

The International Energy Agency's 2001 review of Australia's energy policies and programmes.  It finds that Australia is rich in low-cost energy resources, especially coal. The country exports large amounts of coal, liquefied natural gas and uranium to the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. This contributes to international availability and security of energy supply. Efforts are under way to increase LNG exports and to make Australian coal even more competitive.

For most of the past decade, Australia has been at the forefront of energy market liberalisation. Following liberalisation by individual states in the early 1990s, the competitive National Electricity Market was established in 1998. The NEM integrates markets across the eastern and south-eastern states. The benefits have been considerable: strong competition, significant price reductions and consumer choice. Gas market reform has been under way since 1997 and is beginning to yield the first benefits. More work is needed to complete the reform process. In the power market, this includes open access for all consumers and providing efficient price signals for interconnection.

The Australian government spends almost A$ 1 billion on climate change mitigation programmes. Many of these programmes are market-oriented, including a mandatory certificates trading system.