Finkel highlights need for gas development

Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.

Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel has highlighted the need for policy reform in order to secure the country’s energy future.

Dr Finkel’s preliminary report of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market emphasises the need for new gas supplies in moving towards a lower carbon future.

Some of the key observations identified in the report include:

  • The security and reliability of our electricity supply is less assured than in the past.
  • The rate of technological change is unprecedented and consumer expectations are shifting rapidly.
  • Household energy bills rose on an average almost 50 per cent in the six years to 2014.
  • Inadequate supply and the cost of natural gas are contributing to electricity price rises.
  • There is broad enthusiasm for a coordinated national approach to energy and emissions reduction policies.

The preliminary report also went on to note:

Gas has the potential to smooth the transition to a lower emissions electricity sector. Gas generation provides the synchronous operation that is key to maintaining technical operability with increased renewable generation until new technologies are available and cost effective. Furthermore, gas is dispatchable when required.

and:

The need for greater gas supplies for electricity generation is increasingly urgent.

The preliminary report has received support from industry bodies from the energy sector, including the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).

“Dr Finkel’s preliminary report shows just how urgent our national energy security situation has become,” said APPEA Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Roberts.

“A mix of policy indecision, restrictive regulations and politically motivated bans and moratoriums, particularly in Victoria, has stymied gas exploration and development and is placing this transition at risk.

Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) also supported the preliminary report, saying the report captures the challenges facing the electricity market.

“Households and small businesses have been hit by big price rises in the last ten years and it’s critical that we do everything we can to keep a lid on costs through the transition to a cleaner economy,” said ECA Acting CEO Lynne Gallagher.

You can read the preliminary review here.

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