A review on renewable energy transition in Australia: An updated depiction

Hong Xian Li, David J. Edwards, M. Reza Hosseini, Glenn P. Costin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the global context, only 6% of Australia's total energy consumption was derived from renewables, while 86.3% of electricity was generated from fossil fuels. However, this trend has been disrupted by the recent decommissioning and closure of a fleet of ageing coal power plants, along with the country's international commitments to reduce fossil fuel emissions. Currently, Australia is at a crucial stage of its transition to renewable energy adoption. With the purpose of providing an updated depiction of renewable energy, related policy and the way ahead in the Australian context, this research paper presents a systematic review of contemporary literature from the perspectives of energy potential, utilisation and policy incentives. The research analysed a total of 118 documents using an interpretivist epistemological lens; emergent findings offer an evidence-based, lucid account of advancements in the renewable energy market. Polynomial regression analysis is also conducted on secondary data obtained from the literature to predict trends in the electricity generated by different sources of renewable energy. The work also identifies several areas that require attention, including: (1) the most recent time-varying feed-in tariffs (TV FiTs) which offer the innate potential to alter consumer attitudes toward power usage at peak times, thereby improving grid security; (2) the increasingly popular integration of waste-to-energy with other sources of renewable energy emerges as a viable complementary solution to meet energy demands; (3) the increasing utilisation of subsidised geothermal energy installations which are set to rise exponentially in the future; and (4) the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) for developing renewable energy generation infrastructure and how this investment may facilitate the national transition to renewable energy adoption. This research contributes to the existing body of knowledge by raising awareness of the current state of renewable energy in Australia, along with proposing pragmatic recommendations for overcoming any challenges posed. As a comprehensive reference, this study provides practitioners and policymakers with thorough, reliable and collated information on Australia's current renewable energy position.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118475
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Feed-in tariffs (FiTs)
  • Geothermal
  • Hydropower
  • Solar energy
  • Waste-to-energy
  • Wind energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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