Gas primary focus for the Budget, leaving renewable energy behind
Between changes to home ownership and increases to superannuation, it’s been a big week for finance news. But things have also perked up within the energy sector, with the Federal Government unveiling a $1.6 billion plan as a part of the 2021 Budget.
Over the next four years, the government will primarily focus on low-emissions technologies, allocating $635 million to this cause.
Some of those investments will include building renewable energy microgrids in remote areas in the Northern Territory and Northern Queensland.
“Our 2021-22 Budget measures will provide reliable, secure and affordable energy to all Australians, and increase investment in technology solutions to reduce emissions in a way that supports jobs and economic growth,” said Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor.
“This Budget builds on the Government’s existing initiatives to guarantee reliable and affordable energy, stimulate jobs and reduce emissions without imposing new costs on households, businesses or the economy.”
An additional $25 million will be allocated to assist new gas generators with making the transition to hydrogen.
However, many critics have argued that the Budget overlooks necessary funding for network upgrades, which is argued to be essential for the future of electricity stability and reliability.
“If this truly is the infrastructure budget, Infrastructure Australia has identified that there is a need for major transmission upgrades to supply network access to renewable energy zones as a high priority, particularly in light of retiring thermal generation,” said Clean Energy Council’s chief executive, Kane Thornton.
“It’s disappointing that in a ‘nation-building’ infrastructure budget, upgrades that will enable the access and security of clean, low-cost power have not been prioritised.”
Renewable energy pushes gas out of the National Energy Market (NEM)
During the last summer, gas generators only occupied 5% of the national energy market share due to record-breaking wind and solar power generation, according to a recent report by the Climate Council.
The report also found that the last time gas peaked was seven years ago in August 2014, while renewable energy has doubled in its market share during the same time period.
“As the sunniest and one of the windiest places on the planet, Australia should be cashing in on its renewable advantage, and in doing so, rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win-win,” said Climate Council’s senior researcher, Tim Baxter.
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