The Morrison and Berejiklian governments have inked a $2 billion energy deal that will see another 70 petajoules of gas injected into the national electricity grid.
Under the deal, NSW will receive $960 million in federal funding to upgrade the grid and invest in ‘emissions reductions initiatives’. The state and federal governments will together underwrite the HumeLink interconnector from Snowy Hydro to southern NSW, as well as the Qld-NSW interconnector.
Coal supply to Mount Piper Station, which is due to operate until 2042, will also be secured.
Scott Morrison said the deal would secure energy supply and reduce emissions as the nation moves towards renewable power sources.
“There is no credible plan to lower emissions and keep electricity prices down that does not involve the greater use of gas as an important transition fuel,” he said.
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“This plan is about getting greater access to that gas, as a vital accompaniment to our record investment in renewables.”
At the same time, he said some of the money would go towards coal innovation to see how power generation and mining can emit less pollution.
This comes as the Clean Energy Council reveals commitments in large-scale renewable energy projects has collapsed by more than 50 per cent.
While the government touted it as a “transition” deal, but the Greens aren’t so optimistic.
“This is a climate deal with the devil,” Greens MP Adam Bandt said.
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“We must jump straight to renewables and storage, but [the] PM is usig public money to grow coal and gas.
“By opening vast gas fields and with toxic methane up to 86-times more potent than CO2, [the] PM is blowing Paris climate targets.”
On the other hand, the Energy Users Association Australia (EUAA) says, “it’s terrific to see this kind of collaboration between the Federal and NSW State Government”.
(The two governments are Liberal party governments.)
“With gas prices and gas availability still a challenge, the announcement of support to increase gas volume in NSW will help gas intensive manufacturers,” Mr Richards said.
“Gas prices are not sustainable for manufacturers at their current levels and increasing supply will provide part of the solution.”