The Northern Territory Government has called for a national summit to discuss energy shortages across Australia, claiming the Territory is in a unique position to help South Australia and other states ensure continued supply.
NT Chief Minister Adam Giles said there was a supply crisis in South Australia caused partly by the state’s over-reliance on renewables, and that some of the country’s major industries were in danger of shutting down because of high electricity prices.
“The disaster that struck South Australia this week transcends party politics and state or territory borders,” Mr Giles said.
“The nation can’t afford to see heavy industry shut down because of crippling power prices and uncertainty over supply.
“I agree with South Australia’s Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis that other states are facing a similar crisis. This fact has been foreshadowed by independent authorities and regulators including the ACCC.”
Mr Giles said solutions could not be found overnight, but the Northern Territory was uniquely placed to help avert disaster in South Australia and the eastern states.
“We have abundant onshore gas reserves that can be used to generate low-emissions, low-cost electricity for the rest of Australia,” Mr Giles said.
“The construction of the Northern Gas Pipeline will assist with meeting some of the demand.
“A national energy summit should also consider connecting the Northern Territory to the national electricity grid and the possible construction of a second gas pipeline from Central Australia to Moomba.
“These can both be achieved under the Commonwealth’s agenda to develop Northern Australia.”
Mr Giles said the South Australian crisis highlighted the failure of rushing into renewables.
Mr Giles said NT Labor’s policy to enforce 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 would be catastrophic for Australia and the Territory.
“Independent modelling has shown it would increase power prices in the Territory by upwards of 400 per cent,” Mr Giles said.
“It’s now been shown that curtailing onshore gas exploration and production would worsen the critical shortage of gas in the eastern states.”
Mr Giles said the Northern Territory Government has commissioned two energy-related studies, which were due to report in July 2016.
One study relates to the feasibility of establishing a small-scale gas-to-liquids plant in the Territory, while the other examines energy security in the local and national context.
“Many people are unaware our diesel and aviation fuel is currently imported from Singapore and at any one time we only have 7-10 days’ supply,” Mr Giles said.
“The Country Liberals have a positive plan to create jobs and lower the cost of living. Development of the onshore gas industry is integral to the Territory’s economic and social well being.”