The Australian Pipelines and Gas Association has called on Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler to support switching to natural gas to reduce carbon emissions in Australia.
APGA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright said, “Natural gas should have a growing role in electricity generation.
“It’s highly responsive to fluctuations in both demand and supply which is crucial as renewable energy sources increase.
“Electricity generated from natural gas has half the emissions of electricity generation from other fossil fuels.”
Ms Cartwright said recent figures from the US indicate that, between 2007 and 2013, the increasing role of natural gas in the US electricity mix has driven an annual 270 million tonne reduction in emissions, reducing total US emissions by 4.4 per cent.
Ms Cartwright said the most efficient way to reduce emissions in the electricity sector is to introduce a technology neutral emissions-intensity scheme.
This will allow both cost and emissions intensity to guide investment decisions, leading to the most efficient and effective outcomes.
“Such a scheme would encourage the efficient reduction of emissions,” Ms Cartwright said.
“The current system subsidises renewables, effectively discouraging the required investment in efficient natural gas generation.”
Natural gas is less expensive per petajoule and is less carbon intensive than mains electricity.
“Even better is natural gas used directly in households and industry which has one quarter the emissions of electricity from the grid and is also less expensive,” Ms Cartwright said.
“The role natural gas plays in the economy is underrated – natural gas provides the economy with as much energy as electricity.
“If natural gas were not available, Australia’s electricity sector would have to double in size. At current intensity levels, this would increase Australia’s total emissions by more than 100million tonnes a year.
“Figures issued recently by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that in 2013-14 Australian households used 205 petajoules (PJ) of natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) at a cost of $6.2billion, and 216PJ of electricity at a cost of $16.1billion – more than twice as much as they paid for each petajoule of natural gas.”