Wednesday, May 3, 2017

With gas and hydro plans, the government is looking at the whole picture

Australia, like many countries, is grappling with an energy market in transition. It’s a politically fraught topic, but two major policy developments create hope for a better approach.
Hydro electricity will be part of Australia’s energy future.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced last week that he will restrict gas exports and reserve supplies for Australians. This comes on the heels of an ambitious plan to increase hydroelectricity capacity in Tasmania.

Following unproductive talks with gas producers to try to ensure a secure domestic supply, the government has said it will force companies to reserve gas for the local market if a shortage is forecast. This is designed to reduce domestic retail prices for gas and ensure energy security.

Just one week before that, Turnbull presented proposals to invest in pumped hydroelectricity in Tasmania, by redeveloping the old Tarraleah scheme, enhancing the Gordon Power Station and exploring several new schemes. This follows the announcement of a A$2 billion expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme and a plan to build a pumped hydro plant at Spencer Gulf in South Australia.

Read the thoughts of a Lecturer in Sustainability from the University of Queensland, Cle-Anne Gabriel, on The Conversation - “With gas and hydro plans, the government is looking at the whole picture.”

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