Finkel fights for efficient gas markets

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel has unveiled a blueprint to optimise the National Electricity Market as a world-class electricity system that can serve the needs of today and rise to the challenges of tomorrow.

Dr Finkel presented the Final Report of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market to COAG Leaders in Hobart today.

“Our electricity system is entering an era where it must deal with changing priorities and evolving technologies. If the world around us is changing, we have to change with it. More of the same is not an option, we need to aim higher,” said Dr Finkel.

“If we adopt a strategic approach, we will have fewer local and regional problems, and can ensure that consumers pay the lowest possible prices over the long term.”

Gunning for gas

The report found that the gas and electricity markets are closely connected, and that gas-fired generation can provide a low emissions substitute for coal.

While contribution of gas to electricity generation has declined largely due to higher gas prices and tighter supplies, the report calls for gas market reforms to be driven by the COAG Energy Council and government initiatives to improve supply and affordability.

To improve transparency in all aspects of the gas market, the report finds that:

  • AEMO should have better oversight of gas supply contracts for gas-fired generators.
  • Governments should work with communities and industry to enable the safe exploration and production of unconventional gas, including ensuring that landowners receive fair compensation.
  • Gas industry performance data should be transparent, clear and accessible. This should include seismic activity, fracking fluid composition, aquifer purity and fugitive emissions.

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