Gas, the PM’s full of it

Update: Simon Holmes a Court, Climate & Energy College, Melbourne University says there’s no domestic case for increasing gas extraction. It’s better we leave it in the ground. Here’s the full story in the Guardian.

The Prime Minister could not be more wrong in pushing gas as a ‘transition fuel’.  30 years ago this may have been the case but there is no time now to transition to another fossil fuel.  Gas is expensive in Australia and, already, renewables plus batteries are cheaper to build than new gas-fired generators.

Despite pressure from the Federal Government to keep its 50 year old Liddell coal fired generator going, AGL will close it down in two to three years and its 1000MW production will come from renewables and battery storage.

Sadly, the PM is still a mouthpiece for the fossil fuel industry which is losing the battle for coal and now switching its lobbying to gas.

However the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s submission to the Finkel Review back in 2017 said:

“While there are several proposals in the market for new gas-fired generators in Australia, our observations indicate that it is challenging to find long-term domestic gas supply agreements to support new investment.” 

The Centre for Climate Economics & Policy told the review that gas had been overtaken by renewable energy, including battery storage, in the transition away from coal-fired power due to rapid advances and cost reductions in renewable energy generation, storage technologies and flexible demand responses.

In other words, new gas does not stack up and it will certainly not deliver lower prices. Wind and solar plants can also be built more quickly. Even SA which currently relies on gas for 50% of its power, plans to reach 100% renewables within ten years.

Australia still does not have a credible energy policy.

Here’s what Tony Wood of the Grattan Institute says must be done:

  1. Energy policy must be integrated with emissions-reduction policy, and go beyond electricity to encompass transport, industrial, and export energy. 
  2. The Australian Energy Market Agreement must be revised so that it  extends beyond the electricity market. It should clearly set out the responsibilities of each level of government as well as of the collective COAG Energy Council. And it must embody a national commitment in which jurisdictional proposals for unilateral intervention are subject to an independent impact assessment before proceeding
  3. Australia’s three energy agencies should be strengthened so they can guide the nation through the rapid and disruptive transition ahead. Their remits should place more emphasis on emerging issues and challenges than has been the case in the recent past. Most importantly, they should be given a joint statutory obligation to collaborate on common objectives.
  4. He warns that the journey to near zero emissions will take decades of adaptive and strategic action by governments and industry.

And here is Katharine Murphy from The Guardian’s take on the PM’s push for gas.

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