Heat wave brings focus on energy policy: APGA

APGA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright.

APGA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright.

High temperatures being experienced across Australia should help energy ministers focus on the importance of developing a comprehensive and technology-neutral national energy policy, according to the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA).

APGA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright said a key element of that policy must address the issue of increasing the supply of natural gas to both domestic consumers and manufacturers by removing barriers to exploration and development.

“Natural gas has a long-term role to work in partnership with renewables to reduce carbon emissions in Australia’s energy generation,” said Ms Cartwright.

“Electricity generated by natural gas has half the carbon emissions of coal-fired power generation and gas has even lower emissions when used directly in the home.

“As we transition to a lower emissions energy future, Australia needs to match the withdrawal of high emissions energy generators like the Hazelwood power station with the introduction of new supplies of energy, and that means renewable energy sources coupled with natural gas.

“Extra energy demands, such as those that arise during heat waves, will jeopardise energy supply unless new sources are introduced to match demand.

“Natural gas is a sensible choice, yet Victoria is banning onshore exploration for gas that can be conventionally extracted, even though this causes little concern.

“With Victoria also banning hydraulic fracturing extraction and other States and Territories considering similar bans, Australia’s energy needs might not be met.

“We have an abundance of gas, one of our nation’s great advantages, but we are being prevented from accessing it.

“This threatens the future of manufacturing in Australia, especially those many industries for which there is no real substitute for natural gas such as in the manufacture of building materials, plastics and fertilisers.

“Energy is central to the economic future of our nation and to our own daily lives. Without a comprehensive national plan, both are at risk.

“The solution to the gas demand-supply imbalance is getting more gas into the system.

“Removing the moratoria on the extraction of gas that applies in States such as Victoria would assist in increasing gas supply, but further development is also needed.”

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