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Energy productivity is an indicator of the amount of economic output that is derived from each unit of energy consumed.

Economy-wide energy productivity is generally measured as national gross domestic product (GDP - in millions of dollars) divided by petajoules (PJ) of primary energy consumed. While other definitions are possible, this is a common international measure that will make it easy to compare our progress with other countries.

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*Mtoe = Megatonnes of oil equivalent

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State of play: Australia’s energy productivity

Currently other major economies are well ahead of Australia in increasing energy productivity. Australia’s mean economic value per unit of energy consumed is lower than that of the Group of 20 (G20) countries, as is its mean improvement in energy productivity.

Australia must act now to keep pace and avoid entrenching competitive disadvantage whilst G20 peers accelerate away and other countries overtake us in the global transition to a decarbonised economy.

The potential contribution of energy productivity improvement to Australia’s overall economic productivity is now at an historic high. This is due to Australia coming from a relatively low productivity base and having relatively high real energy prices.


Energy, as a production input, now has a more material impact on the profitability of businesses and Australia’s economic growth than ever before.

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Source: Australian Energy Update 2019, Department of the Environment and Energy

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