AN environment group has blackened the image of natural gas as a clean fuel and called for a halt on issuing of new exploration and extraction licences.
Energy security think-tank Zero Emissions claims fossil gas is dirtier than coal in most applications — including electricity generation, household heating and hot water.
“Gas is dirty, it’s not clean. Gas is a diversion and not a shortcut,” the group’s executive director Matthew Wright said.
“To throw good money after bad on a sunset industry that is seeing costs blow up for Australian consumers is wrong and should be given short shrift. Fossil gas is dirtier than coal when we take into account total lifecycle emissions.”
South-west Victoria is a renowned source of natural gas with BHP, Santos, Origin Energy and TRUenergy having substantial investments in the Otway Basin supplying domestic and commercial markets in Victoria and South Australia. Origin Energy has a gas-fired power station at Mortlake and another is proposed by Santos at Orford.
Zero Emission’s comments came after the Australian Pipeline Industry Association called for government policy changes to make more gas reserves available.
Association chief executive Cheryl Cartwright said with forecasts of a looming domestic supply squeeze the only answer was to access broader supply from many sources as soon as possible.
“In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions economically, natural gas should be encouraged. Gas creates less than half the CO2 emissions of coal-fired power generation,” Ms Cartwright said.
“An indication by government of commitment to natural gas will help to provide the right investment environment for further gas development.”