Defined as a type of energy which does not rely on finite resources for its production, renewable energy comes in various forms such as solar, wind, geothermal and tidal. Although a contentious issue in some communities, RE cannot be overlooked as a vital piece of the sustainability puzzle. Broadly speaking there are two scales of renewable energy production: localized, individual systems to service private residences; and large scale plants which generate electricity which is fed into the grid to be used by the wider community.
Individual systems can be grid-connected or stand-alone. Grid connection is a viable option when it is available in close proximity to your building site, and photovoltaic systems attract government rebates when connected to the grid. However on some rural properties which are isolated from the grid supply, a stand-alone system with storage batteries may be the only option.
For those households connected to the grid, even if they choose not to install an individual renewable energy system, can still subscribe to a form of RE through their energy retailer. For the small additional amount that you pay on your quarterly bill, the amount that you pay for your electricity is invested back into RE production and infrastructure, which contributes towards Australia reaching its national RE targets.
For more information visit the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.