Many factors will shape Australia’s energy future, including an expanding demand for energy from changing demographic and socioeconomic patterns, evolving consumer needs and choices, and how we respond to the threat of dangerous climate change.
In particular, our growing integration with global energy and carbon markets as we move into the Asian century will heavily influence our development, including through expanding export opportunities and through two-way flows of technology, know-how and skills.
This chapter summarises important global and national energy trends, sets out potential development paths and describes the overarching challenges that must be overcome to realise our energy goals. More specific policy issues are discussed in subsequent chapters.
The chapter presents a generally positive picture of how global and Australian energy sectors may develop from now through to 2035, and in some instances beyond, but this is only one of many possible futures. Because of the long lives of energy assets and infrastructure, the policy choices we make today will have consequences that last for many decades.