I understand your concern around the need to urgently decarbonise. While we would like to do this, we have to balance this need with the needs of our 2.2 million electricity customers. For us and our customers, an electricity system that isn’t reliable, isn’t sustainable.
We agree that some methods of natural gas extraction, including hydraulic fracturing of coal seams, do increase the carbon emissions per unit of gas. It is possible there will be gas sourced from this method imported through the proposed facility.
However, most of the gas produced in the world still comes from traditional sources, not coal seam gas. We are most likely to buy gas from these traditional sources (such as from Qatar and Africa) because it is the same sort of gas that we use in Victoria which relied on traditional gas reserves in Bass Strait which are now in decline.
Energy is an industry in great transition, moving towards reliable power for customers that’s low cost and low carbon.
Gas is playing a critical role in this transition. Right now, we have $1.9 billion worth of energy supply projects under development, with a further $1.5 billion subject to feasibility.
These projects range from upgrades to our existing sites to new renewables projects. A number are gas-firming projects which play an important role in this transition period to ensure clean, reliable and affordable electricity.
We understand that gas is only a medium-term fuel, and while some would like us to jump straight to renewables, we need a reliable supply of lower emission fuel to generate the firming capacity needed to make an effective transition to renewables over the coming decades.
Gas-fired power generation has proved to be a relatively low cost, low emissions source of synchronous generation and has provided critical network stability, along with other technologies.
Synchronous generation is critical to enable the supply of electricity through the entire National Electricity Market. Unfortunately, renewables and battery technology has not yet developed to provide for this kind of stability in the grid.
A stable regulatory environment is also important to facilitate investment in energy and ensure Australians have access to reliable, clean and affordable energy in the years ahead.
Clearly, there are challenges to address, but we believe the benefits for customers and Australia’s productivity are clear and gas provides the best way of transitioning to a clean, cost-effective and reliable power.
We have a video on our website about this particular hurdle we have encountered in our transition to renewables. You can view it here.
Please see the discussion about fugitive emissions in the forum here.