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9 interesting facts about electricity in Australia 

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All first world and several third world countries rely on electricity, so much so that we often take it for granted. During a power outage, we quickly realize how important electricity is to modern Australian life, even though the history of its adoption in the country is less than 200 years old.

9 Really Cool Facts About Electricity in Australia

The first fact of note is that Australians don’t usually call electricity “energy,” but “electricity” instead. It’s usually Americans that call electricity “energy.” Here are some other cool facts.

1. Energy Storage + Renewable Energy = Pollution Free

In Australia, citizens are trying to cut back on their non-renewable energy usage by installing green technology, like wind turbines and solar lights. But if you want your storage unit to be considered “pollution-free,” it can’t connect to an energy source that also stores fossil fuels.

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2. The Endeavor Had a Primitive Form of Electricity on Board

When Captain Cook sailed to what is now known as Australia in 1770, he had a primitive form of electricity onboard. By using Leyden jars (a battery made from a glass vial, nail, and cork), Captain Cook was able to run a weak current across his cabin’s floor, presumably for heat.

3. New South Wales (NSW) Was the First Region to have Electricity

In 1863, a single arc lamp was lit on Sydney’s Observatory Hill, but it wasn’t until 1878 that the first building was lit (Sydney’s General Post Office). While energy was likely really expensive back then, you can now find cheap electricity in NSW by comparing energy providers online.

4. Blackouts Aren’t Usually Caused by Supply Shortages

When the lights go out, we’re quick to blame our energy provider, but they usually aren’t to blame. It’s estimated that 98% of all power interruptions are caused by events affecting the power lines, such as falling trees, vehicles, storms, bushfires, heatwaves, possums, and birds.

5. Nhill in Victoria was the First Town to Get Electricity

Melbourne wasn’t the first town or city to get a town-wide supply of electricity. That award went to Nhill in 1891, which was three years before Melbourne was fully lit. The region of Victoria was also the first state to have an electricity business and regulations surrounding electricity supply.

6. Australia is the World’s Largest Gas/Coal Exporter

While gas and coal help fuel the Australian economy, it’s killing our planet. Fossil fuel plants routinely break down, costing the country millions per year. Gas is also more expensive to produce than clean fuel. If Australia continues to export, its citizens will pay more at the pump.

7. The Capital City (Sydney) Finally Lit Up in the 20th Century

Australia’s capital city, Sydney, was finally lit up on the 8th of July, 1904. At this time, power was still concentrated in the middle of the city. In 1916, Hobart, the most populated city in Tasmania, was the first city to receive power from 100s of kilometers away, thanks to transmission lines.

8. Only a Handful of People Are Controlling the Electricity Market

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is responsible for operating the National Electricity Market. The AEMO, which is 60% government-owned and 40% industry-owned, is almost solely responsible for maintaining the entire electricity grid that’s powering Australia.

9. You Can Ask Your Provider for 100% Renewable Energy

Most countries don’t have the privilege of asking for 100% renewable energy from their providers, but Australians do. We recommended taking advantage of this request, too, because most new homes can switch for free provided they have the right infrastructure and furnace.


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