Natural gas a half-way step to renewable energy

We must give natural gas a fair go to meet our clean energy targets  THE AUSTRALIAN Cheryl Cartwright October 28, 2009  COAL or gas? Which is kinder to the environment? Which will be part of the solution to reducing carbon emissions? Let’s get one thing straight. Yes, gas is a fossil fuel, but it’s the world’s cleanest fossil fuel, and Australia and the world cannot move to renewable energy for power generation without including natural gas.

In fact, if all coal-fired power switched to gas-fired power it would reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by about 20 per cent immediately. This is clearly an unrealistic proposition, but the figure does encourage thought.

This figure demonstrates the benefits of natural gas, but the debate about the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme has centred on how much assistance should be provided to the coal industry. The natural gas industry agrees that adjustment assistance is necessary, but the government and the opposition must focus assistance on adjustment to change, not delay of change………………..

Natural gas is one of the answers. Natural gas does not need government assistance to be viable — it already is.

It doesn’t need expensive technological developments — the technology is available now…………………

A reasonable price signal on emissions will prompt generators to increase their use of natural gas to reduce their emissions. The Renewable Energy Target will also force generators to use renewable energy for 20 per cent of their power generation.

There has been some confusion about the amendments to the target and suggestions there is benefit for the gas industry. There is none. The target does nothing for gas or for the gas industry. The amendments to the target assist the coal industry. Much of the commentary about the target’s inclusion of “waste coal mine gas” has described this as “coal seam gas”, which it is not………………..

As a fuel that has generated less than half the emissions in power generation than coal, natural gas should be the answer to our emissions reduction target. It is expected there will be some increase in demand for gas but under present policies, Australia will not get the full benefits from its gas supplies.

We must give natural gas a fair go to meet our clean energy targets | The Australian

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