News

Gas only slightly greener than coal, new research shows

GAS-fired power generation will not be cheaper than coal and will only result in marginal emission reductions, new research has found.

The research by the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland has found a shift from coal-fired to gas-fired power generation will not significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Energy economics researcher Professor John Foster said modelling indicated that a transition to gas-fired generation reduced emissions only marginally, and that wholesale prices would be higher than with a renewable energy option.

"The findings contradict a widely-held view that renewable energy is too expensive compared to fossil fuels, and too unreliable to be a major component of Australia's future energy generation by 2035," he said.

"There is no justification for the claim that a high proportion of energy sourced from renewables will drive up wholesale costs, in comparison to a power system heavily dependent on coal seam gas," Professor Foster said.

The finding comes as the Australian government deepens its commitment to developing coal seam gas resources in order to supply lucrative export markets and transition domestic power generation.

Professor Foster said a shift away from coal to lower-emissions gas was required in order to create greater resilience in Australia's power market, but he warned that coal seam gas was not a silver bullet.

"A mix of large-scale renewable energy generation, including solar and wind, together with consumer action to use power more efficiently, will deliver the most resilient Australian power market by 2035," he said.

"While our findings might indicate that pursuing a gas-centric scenario will lead to increased prices and reduced carbon emissions, they may not be sufficient to change the dominant industry view which is intent on replacing coal with gas," Professor Foster said.

The news comes as Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett calls for a national energy policy that curtails the export of natural gas, in a bid to ensure cheap and reliable supplies for the domestic market.

Mr Barnett said he found it extraordinary that while Western Australia had long had a policy of reserving 15% of output from the giant North West Shelf liquefied natural gas project in the Pilbara, other states did not have any such requirement.

"I think that is a serious flaw in our energy policy," he told Radio National.

"Any other developed country in the world will be ensuring that that clean, relatively clean energy, is preserved - or some part of it preserved - for the national economy."

Topics:  csg, environment, gas, lng, resources, university of queensland




Medical hub revamp to lure new specialists to region

An artist's impression on the BITS Medical Centre upgrade.

There's big changes afoot for a Boyne Island medical centre

Gladstone tradie grabs 'pure fantasy' sex toy

SEX TOY: Neil Smith was caught with a stolen sex toy.

Tradie steals pregancy test kit then returns for a fantasy sex toy

Latest deals and offers

Zumbo's Just Desserts serves up magical dishes

Gigi Falanga, left, joins hosts Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo on the TV series Zumbo's Just Desserts.

ADRIANO Zumbo’s decadent creations have become prime-time viewing.

Sir Cliff Richard feels 'best' after sex abuse allegations

Sir Cliff Richard is 'back' to his best after sex abuse claims

Blac Chyna sued after car injured 2 women

Blac Chyna is being sued after her friend crashed into another car

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.