Australia is a major exporter of natural gas; however, most of this gas is not available to the south-eastern states. It has been a difficult realisation for many that the abundant gas supplies Victoria once enjoyed are in decline. Declining production from Bass Strait’s big legacy fields has meant Victoria needs to seriously consider and prepare for alternative sources of supply.
Even if the supply of gas from unconventional fields in Queensland was available to the pipeline connecting them with Victoria, Victoria would not be able to supply enough during peak winter gas demand due to the limited capacity of the pipeline. Gas supplies from the North West Shelf are not available to Victoria because there is no pipeline across the Nullarbor.
AGL is committed to helping shape a sustainable energy future for Australia.
We operate the country’s largest renewable electricity generation portfolio. We also operate the largest coal portfolio in Australia so we realise we are integral to the move out of non-renewable energy.
For us, gas is an enabler of energy transition. Over 80 per cent of electricity produced in Australia is sourced from the combustion of fossil fuels. Given the sheer scale, decarbonising the generation sector is likely to take several decades of replacing the existing generation fleet with low-emissions substitute technology such as solar and windfarms. To deliver reliable and sustainable energy at the lowest cost possible requires renewable energy from wind and solar combined with more flexible energy sources, like quick-start gas generation, that can be turned on whenever renewables are not available or don’t meet demand.
This mix of technologies can replace AGL’s Liddell coal plant when it closes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum. Reliable gas supply is a critical component of this replacement plan.
We know there are several environmental concerns that need to be addressed in detail as part of the assessment process, including those you have mentioned. The community have made their concerns known to the government and they have been successful in making sure they are now assessed independently through an Environment Effects Statement (EES) process.
These risks are being further investigated through the EES process. You can find details of this on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's website.