Forget renewables, go gas: APPEA, APIA

WITH the Federal election just around the corner, the Liberal and Labor parties are still refusing to acknowledge the important role natural gas can play in Australia's energy future, according to peak gas industry bodies.
Forget renewables, go gas: APPEA, APIA Forget renewables, go gas: APPEA, APIA Forget renewables, go gas: APPEA, APIA Forget renewables, go gas: APPEA, APIA Forget renewables, go gas: APPEA, APIA

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and the Australian Pipeline Industry Association (APIA) were responding to promises by both political parties to set renewable or clean energy targets.

"Renewable energy resources will simply not be ready for use in the short to medium term," APIA chief executive Cheryl Cartwright said.

"Both sides of politics say privately that natural gas will be a 'transition' fuel for the medium term but if their policies discourage the use of natural gas, which they are now doing, then the critical transmission infrastructure won't be built in time to meet the expected demand."

APPEA chief executive Belinda Robinson agreed that the political parties were favouring renewables over natural gas to reduce the country's emissions.

She argued that achieving cost-effective greenhouse abatement could be achieved with a well-designed emissions trading scheme without the need for a renewable energy target.

"APPEA acknowledges that the bipartisan support for renewable energy targets responds to a genuine community concern for an action on climate change," Robinson said.

"However, a renewable energy target will not lead to larger cuts to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, because it operates under the umbrella of an emissions trading scheme that caps greenhouse gas emissions.

"It will simply and substantially increase the cost of doing so."

Cartwright called on both political parties to "come clean" with their medium-term plans for reducing carbon emissions.

"If this nation turns its back on natural gas for power generation, both of these political parties risk undermining or losing an important industry for their country," she said.

"Firstly, if the industry continues to be ignored, producers will focus on international rather than national markets, and secondly the infrastructure required to bring natural gas to the manufacturing and energy-generating industries might not be built in time."

Australia's natural gas industry is worth $10 billion and directly employs more than 4000 workers, according to Cartwright.