An Appalling Decision: Federal Government To Fund New Gas Power Station

Climate Council

An Appalling Decision: Federal Government To Fund New Gas Power Station

Energy and economics experts have slammed the Federal Government’s decision to fund another gas-fired power station in the Hunter region of New South Wales as a waste of taxpayer money that will push up electricity prices and worsen climate change.

The announcement was made on the same day the International Energy Agency advised that there can be no new gas, coal, or oil projects if the world is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The Federal Government will spend up to $600m on the Kurri Kurri power station even though it makes no commercial sense and will be harmful to Australians.

Andrew Stock, Climate Council spokesperson and senior energy executive with over 40 years experience, can talk about the implications of the Federal Government’s decision on private sector investment in NSW’s electricity market, and why this gas power station will drive up power prices.

Andrew says: “Building a new gas power station in NSW will raise electricity prices for residents and businesses, not lower them. Gas is expensive and gas peakers that rarely run need to drive up prices to get a return. Federal interference in the electricity market also discourages private sector investment. Any potential shortfall created by the closure of Liddell power station would have been filled by the NSW state government and energy industry’s announced plans to build Renewable Energy Zones and big batteries across the state. Renewables are the cheaper, smarter choice to meet future energy demand compared to gas, which is expensive, polluting and worsens climate change. The Federal Government’s gas decision is an all round poor move for Australian taxpayers.”

Nicki Hutley, Climate Council spokesperson and economist, can explain why there is no economic case for public spending on gas, especially at a time when so many other sectors of the economy urgently require more funding.

Nicki says: “Simply put, gas doesn’t make economic sense in Australia any more. It drives up electricity prices, it increases emissions at a time when the rest of the world is reducing emissions, and it creates very few jobs. There is no economic case for public spending on gas. The majority of benefit from this move will be concentrated in the hands of large gas corporations at the expense of future lives and livelihoods. Rather than blowing taxpayer money on harmful gas, the Federal Government should invest in renewable energy technologies that deliver win-win-win outcomes for electricity prices, healthier communities, and job-creation; as well as focusing on sectors like education, healthcare, and housing, all of which require additional support to help vulnerable Australians.”

Greg Bourne, Climate Council spokesman and former President, BP Australasia

Greg says: “This announcement is bad energy policy, and bad economic policy from the Federal Government. The International Energy Agency has just said there can be no new coal, oil, and gas expansion if the world is to get to net zero by 2050, and the Australian Energy Market Operator and Energy Security Board have already indicated that New South Wales does not need new gas projects to meet its future energy needs. The state government’s proposed Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) and AGL’s plans for renewable energy and battery projects across NSW will supply clean, affordable electricity to the state and render a new gas power station unnecessary. As renewable energy and battery technologies become cheaper by the day, the Federal Government’s short-sighted investment in a new gas fired power station, built with taxpayer money, not only makes no sense from an energy or economic perspective, it will likely end up as a stranded asset.”

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