In response to news reports suggesting the federal government is set to build a taxpayer-funded gas-fired power station in the Hunter region of NSW, Gavan McFadzean, the climate program manager at the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), said:
“Building a gas-fired power plant with public money would be a counter-productive, risky and unnecessary intervention in Australia’s electricity market.
“Gas is a polluting fossil fuel, which should have no place in our future energy grid.
“A responsible government would be moving to phase out gas-fired power to do our part in addressing the climate crisis – and to achieve net zero climate pollution as soon as possible.
“Australia has some of the best solar and wind resources in the world and is well-placed to transition to a fully renewable grid.
“A new gas generator, propped up by the government, would be a very poor use of public funds and an intervention that could inhibit new renewable energy investment.
“Any new coal or gas-fired power station will inevitably be a stranded asset.
“To claim there will be a 1000-megawatt gap in energy supply when the Liddell coal-fired power plant closes in 2023 is to rely on outdated information. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has determined the gap is only 154MW. It’s unclear why the government has not updated its assessment and continues to use old projections.
“Gas is polluting and expensive. Gas-fired power cannot compete with clean renewable energy on price. More gas in the electricity system will increase, not decrease, power prices.
“Replacing Liddell with renewable energy backed by batteries would be 17% cheaper than replacing Liddell with gas, while resulting in fewer emissions.”