Energy in Australia

Peak Oil, Solar Power, and Asia’s Economic Growth

  • Graham Palmer

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Energy book series (BRIEFSENERGY)

Also part of the Energy Analysis book sub series (ENERGYANALYS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Graham Palmer
    Pages 1-2
  3. Graham Palmer
    Pages 31-44
  4. Graham Palmer
    Pages 45-69
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 87-91

About this book


With rapidly declining costs and seemingly unlimited sunshine, the choice of solar in Australia seems obvious. Yet despite its many advantages, homes with solar remain completely dependent on the electricity grid for reliable supply, which in Australia implies mostly coal-fired generation. Indeed, even countries that have invested heavily in solar, such as Spain and Germany, have been unable to deflect the trajectory of fossil fuel dependence.

The reasons for this apparent paradox are varied, and this book provides a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the practical applications of photovoltaics (PV) in modern electricity systems. While the conventional life-cycle assessment (LCA) boundaries as prescribed by the IEA-PVPS provide a consistent methodology for comparing evolving PV technologies, the narrow boundaries exclude many critical downstream energy costs. Similarly, simple cost comparisons of PV versus conventional power sources overlook the significant economic and energy costs of intermittency and grid integration. Yet distributed storage, which could provide potentially valuable network support, is frequently given a low priority by advocates of solar.

Treating PV as an extension of, rather than as a substitute for, the fossil fuel enterprise enables a more productive discussion of PV’s potential role in electricity generation. The sunburnt country of Australia, which has a modern electricity system, is an ideal case study for exploring the potential of solar PV. With a focus on rooftop solar, energy storage, grid integration, and electricity system issues, Energy in Australia offers valuable insights into the practical challenges of solar power. Although many national economies are already confronting a downward trend in energy return on investment (EROI) of oil and gas from both conventional and unconventional sources, the large-scale deployment of low-emission energy sources that lie below a critical minimum EROI threshold may ultimately prove counter-productive.


Australia EROI Australia coal and minerals Australia coal and solar energy Australia energy history Australia oil and Asia Australia peak oil Australia solar energy grid Downstream energy costs Energy Australia Energy policy solar Energy return on investment Fossil fuel dependence Global energy policy IEA-PVPS LCA PV Australia PV EROI PV LCA PV economic costs PV energy costs PV in modern electricity systems PV life-cycle assessments PV technologies comparison Solar and renewables Solar and renewables Australia Solar distributed storage Solar power Australia Solar power Australia EROI Solar power, practical challenges

Authors and affiliations

  • Graham Palmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Paltech CorporationKnoxfieldAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Graham Palmer 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Energy Energy (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-02939-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-02940-5
  • Series Print ISSN 2191-5520
  • Series Online ISSN 2191-5539
  • Buy this book on publisher's site