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Angus Taylor's gas plan is an astoundingly bad idea, on so many levels

Simon Holmes à Court comments in The Guardian (17.9.20) on the federal government's 'gas-fired recovery' plan to underpin the economic pathway out of the pandemic crisis. The author suggests that the Coalition's 'increasingly desperate and ideological energy market interventions' will end up costing us all.

'On Tuesday evening as I was streaming BP’s annual energy outlook statement – wherein the oil “supermajor” explained that fossil fuels have likely peaked and energy growth from here on in will be renewables, renewables and more renewables – a news notification popped up on my screen: Australian minister for energy and emissions reduction Angus Taylor demands electricity sector builds new 1,000 MW gas fired power station.

'An astoundingly bad idea, on so many levels.

'With the closure of the Liddell coal fired power station in the Hunter Valley, the federal government doesn’t want a repeat of Hazelwood.

'… Since gas, as a fuel, costs around three times as much as the equivalent amount of coal, power from gas costs a lot more than from coal. If a new gas power station were to run around the clock, it might be able to produce electricity for as low as $90 per megawatt hour, almost twice as much as current long term power contracts. A “like for like” gas replacement of Liddell would make a multi-billion dollar loss over its lifetime. Won’t happen.

'In general, gas power stations are run much more sporadically, only during peak demand events. If the mooted gas power station were to run only as a peaking plant, the cost of energy produced could easily be twice as high again.'


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