Lock the Gate Alliance says evidence provided by multi-national power company Engie at yesterday’s public hearing of the Senate inquiry into the resilience of the electricity sector has exposed the unreliability of gas for future energy needs and the futility of putting land and water resources at risk.
Engie head of Corporate Affairs reportedly told the inquiry that its Pelican Point gas power plant in South Australia was commercially unviable to operate, stating that, “Unfortunately, we’re in the hands of the market.”
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, “We’re in this absurd situation where the Federal Government is pushing a political agenda claiming that gas is reliable and cheap, while the energy companies themselves are saying that they don’t want to build or run gas power stations”.
Domestic gas prices in Australia have almost doubled due to the development of three large export LNG plants in Queensland, which have linked us to the Asian market for the first time. Domestic gas supply has also been re-routed to feed the export LNG plants, leading to artificial shortages here.
“Gas power stations are not commercially viable in Australia because the LNG export plants have driven up domestic prices and distorted our market.
“The only cheap and reliable source of energy now is renewable projects like the Port Augusta Concentrated Solar Thermal plant which has strong community support.
“We’ve got the Federal Government trying to overturn state policies to protect land and water resources from unconventional gas mining on the pretence of needing gas for power stations that the owners do not want to operate.
“Unconventional gas is not a neutral or friendly fuel. It requires huge amounts of water to extract, it pollutes air and water and causes chronic health problems. It releases large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions and it is, frankly, politically, socially and economically untenable.
“The Federal Government’s political agenda on fossil fuels is not just damaging our landscapes and putting water resources at risk, it is preventing us from sensibly adjusting to changes in energy technologies and delivering reliable power that is environmentally and economically sustainable” she said.