Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people with access to electricity has increased by 1.7 billion, and as the global population continues to rise so will the demand for cheap energy. A global economy reliant on fossil fuels, and the increase of greenhouse gas emissions is creating drastic changes to our climate system. This is impacting every continent.

Efforts to encourage clean energy has resulted in more than 20 percent of global power being generated by renewable sources as of 2011. But still one in five people lack access to electricity, and as the demand continues to rise there needs to be a substantial increase in the production of renewable energy across the world.

Ensuring universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal. Adopting cost-effective standards for a wider range of technologies could also reduce the global electricity consumption by buildings and industry by 14 percent. This means avoiding roughly 1,300 mid-size power plants. Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy in all developing countries is a crucial goal that can both encourage growth and help the environment. Source

Worldwide Community energy has and continues to underpin the energy transition in countries like Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom and even the United States. The first modern wind turbine – Tvindkraft - was literally built by a community in Denmark in 1978.

In Germany, 47% of the installed capacity is owned by citizens and communities while in Scotland there are now 249 community energy projects.

About 95 percent of the energy needed to light a conventional bulb is lost. It starts with one unit of primary energy, like coal or natural gas, and by the time it goes through all the series of conversions needed to produce light, only five percent is actually used. So, there's plenty of opportunity for improvement.
Eric Larson, senior scientist at Climate Central


geothermal energy


ocean energy

solar energy

wind energy

Renewable energy technologies also include hybrid and related technologies. For example technologies that:

  • store energy generated using renewable energy
  • predict renewable energy supply
  • assist in the delivery of energy generated using renewable energy technologies to energy consumers.
  • Source


Rapid improvements in technology and pricing present fresh opportunities to replace polluting energy sources like coal and coal seam gas with energy from the sun, sea and wind. By using energy more wisely and harnessing the power of renewable energy we can create opportunities for new employment and economic growth, foster regional development, and reduce our contribution to global climate change. It is time to make the switch to a clean energy economy by:

  • Driving investment in clean, genuinely renewable energy and committing to a timetable for replacing polluting coal-fired power stations.
  • Committing to an ambitious program for reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency.
  • Ceasing fossil fuel subsidies and putting an end to unrestrained mining and gas expansion.

Energy is one of the fastest growing costs for farmers, with electricity and diesel accounting for a significant proportion of total farm costs.

Energy use efficiency describes the total amount of energy used on farm (in the form of electricity, diesel, or other sources) compared to the amount of production. If energy consumed can be reduced, while production is maintained or increased, energy use efficiency is improved. This may be one of the fastest and easiest ways to improve profitability, and will also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Research indicates there are significant opportunities to reduce energy - and therefore costs on Australian farms.

It is important for farmers to monitor their energy use to estimate use and costs, and track these costs over time. An audit can also identify energy and cost savings, such as fuel switching and tariff negotiation.


Biomass energy is produced from plants and organic wastes—everything from crops, trees, and crop residues to manure. Crops grown for energy could be produced in large quantities, just as food crops are.

Crops and biomass wastes can be converted to energy on farms or sold to energy companies that produce fuel for cars and tractors and heat and power for homes and businesses.

*for this unit when we refer to clean energy we are referring to renewable energy.