Types of energy used by Australian business

Knowing the types of energy your business uses will help you understand what areas are using the most energy. It will also save you money.

Your energy bills can give you some of the information, but detailed data and assessments will help you fully understand your energy use.

You can read more on our pages about understanding your energy bill and managing your energy use.

The main two types of energy Australian businesses use are:

  • non-renewable energy – made from sources such as coal and natural gas
  • renewable energy – made by natural resources such as solar and wind.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is energy that comes from natural resources. Your business can benefit no matter which industry you are in and can be very useful in regional areas away from large urban centres.

Typically, businesses use renewable energy to generate electricity. The business benefits of using renewable energy include:

  • lower and more stable energy costs
  • marketing advantages
  • a secure energy supply
  • lower fossil fuel emissions.

Do some research into the many forms including solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind, hydro, tidal/wave and bioenergy (including biomass, biogas and biofuels). As with fossil fuels, the sun's energy is the ultimate source of these energies.

You can find energy choices that are good for the environment on the Australian Energy Regulator’s website.


Did you know that you could save many thousands of dollars each year by installing solar panels to power your business? Search our grants and assistance to see if your business may be eligible for funding.

Also note that many small to medium businesses lease their premises. Because installing a solar system can involve building alterations, make sure you talk to your body corporate or landlord first. Solar installers and finance providers need the building owner’s approval before installing a solar system.

Non-renewable energy

Non-renewable energy comes from fossil fuels that do not renew themselves such as coal, oil and natural gas.

Australian business mostly use non-renewable energy to generate electricity, but there are other uses such as:

  • oil – for transportation fuels, to make asphalt and other consumer products
  • gas – to heat and cool buildings, fuel vehicles or for cooking
  • coal – for steel production and cement manufacturing
  • nuclear – to make medicine and other consumer product or conduct scientific research.


There’s lots of information to help understand Australia's energy policies and programs.

  • The Australian Energy Regulator looks at the the wholesale electricity market and electricity transmission networks in the long term interests of consumers.
  • The Australian Energy Market Commission is the authority for Australian electricity and gas markets.
  • Read the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Energy White Paper. It sets out an energy policy framework for inexpensive and reliable energy supply to households, business and international markets.

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