Gas

New Data Reveals Gas Slump

21 July 2021

Climate Council article here

NEW DATA reveals that gas demand has slumped even further, while renewables rose to record highs, proving once again that taxpayer dollars should not be syphoned into polluting and unnecessary gas projects.

Between the first half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, gas generation fell in every state in Australia, and provided just six percent of power in the National Electricity Market (NEM), despite virtually no change in electricity demand. This comes off the back of a shocker year for gas in 2020.

“The newly released NSW Future of Gas Statement highlights, once again, that gas requires government interference to maintain its commercial viability,” said Climate Council spokeswoman and energy expert, Dr Madeline Taylor.

“Every taxpayer dollar spent on new gas-fired power infrastructure is at risk of being wasted on unnecessary stranded assets,” said Climate Council spokesman and former BP Australasia President, Greg Bourne.

“The International Energy Agency has made it clear that in order to meet net zero emissions by 2050 globally, no new fossil fuels reserves can be developed. This warning also aligns with our own Australian Energy Market Operator, which wants Australia’s grid ready to handle 100 percent renewable energy by 2025,” said Mr Bourne.

“The Government needs to acknowledge this advice and acknowledge the fact that the NSW Kurri Kurri gas power station is not required in our future energy mix,” he said.

Of the National Energy Market’s 33 large gas power stations, 29 of them operated at less than 20 percent of their capacity and 13 operated less than five percent of the time. That is why we are seeing things like a unit at AGL’s Torrens B gas power station shut up shop for six months.

“Gas will play an ever-decreasing role in the new energy economy. Should the Federal Government force gas into the market by underwriting the risks, it is likely to drive up household power prices and prices for our manufacturing,” said Mr Bourne.

“Gas simply cannot compete with renewable energy, which is bringing down power prices for consumers and creating a cleaner, healthier energy system,” he said.

Renewable energy generation increased by almost 20 percent in the National Energy Market in the first half of 2021, with a 35 percent jump in NSW and 41 percent jump in WA.

“Why are we investing in gas-fired power stations when the need for gas in our electricity system is clearly disappearing?” said Dr Madeline Taylor.

“Gas is expensive, polluting, and diminishing in importance and relevance to the National Electricity Market as states and territories rapidly roll-out large-scale renewable energy and storage,” she said.

Further information

The National Electricity Market is Australia’s largest grid and supplies the vast majority of Australia’s electricity.

OpenNEM is an open source platform that displays electricity generation data. This data covers the period from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021. You can view the data here.

State Renewable energy generation in first half 2021 Gas power generation in first half 2021
National Electricity Market 28.8% 6.1%
Tasmania 99.6% 0.4%
South Australia 62.8% 36.4%
Victoria 28.7% 2%
New South Wales 22.8% 1.3%
Queensland 16.8% 9.5%
Western Australia (South West Interconnected System only) 30.1% 31.6%

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

For further information, go to: climatecouncil.org.au

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