Building a transcontinental gas pipeline would restore Australia’s competitive advantage, Dow Australia New Zealand president Louis Vega said to attendees at the Australian Domestic Gas Outlook conference in Sydney.
Using Dow’s international experience, along with a recent report from the United States Studies Centre (USSC) at the University of Sydney, Mr Vega demonstrated how Australia could use its abundant natural gas as the most cost-effective energy resource to enable the country’s industrial future while simultaneously moving towards its emissions goals.
While Australia’s chemical industry is currently worth around $40 billion, it trails other leading nations in contributing to GPD. Vega presented an American example of how unfettered access to affordable natural gas greatly benefitted the country’s chemical manufacturing industry, and made a significant contribution to jobs, tax revenues and trade.
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Mr Vega demonstrated how gas power generation can provide the power needed to enable continued reliability in the energy grid as Australia simultaneously pursues its renewable energy goals.
“To ensure the reliability of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, we need rapidly dispatchable power when the wind stops blowing or the sun goes down,” Mr Vega said.
“International case studies show the best way to supply reliable power is to combine renewable supplies with gas-fired generation, which together are not only cost effective but also help meet our emissions targets.
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“We estimate that liquefying gas, shipping it and then re-gasifying it in Australia will use approximately 60 per cent more energy and emit around 15,000 tonnes more CO2 into the environment per ship than the same volume of gas transported through a pipeline. It will also condemn Australians to compete with the rest of the world for their own gas.”
Vega concluded that the time for finger-pointing and defending past actions is over; and that with a concerted effort by all stakeholders – energy producers, policy makers and industry users included – the Australian people, economy, environment and trade surplus will all benefit from the resource that is Australian.