ARENA to fund gas expansion
Some of you might have heard about the mind boggling decision to change ARENA’s mandate to fund gas expansion.
All of this energy policy stuff can be a little confusing.
First off what is ARENA?
ARENA stands for Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
ARENA was established in 2012 with the sole purpose of improving the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies through innovation which is essentially funding projects that normally would struggle to gain finance as more traditional financial institutions do not have the expertise to judge these projects on their merits. These loans are paid back and ARENA is actually making a profit for Australians.
But lets look at the name Australian Renewable Energy Agency. I would say the word renewable is the pivot point of that title.
But is gas renewable?
Not its not. It can only be burnt once. It isn’t clean and is still a major part of the greenhouse gas emission problem. Fracking for gas destroys water tables and uses billions of litres of water in a country devoid of billions of excess litres.
Having ARENA now fund gas expansion projects is like putting a Heart Foundation tick of approval on a double whammy burger with all the trimmings. It’s the land of the upside down at the moment.
Why do we need to expand our gas?
Firstly we don’t. It’s dumb! But we actually produce enough gas to meet our needs around 100 times over but then we ship it all overseas without leaving enough to meet domestic supply. Domestic gas prices have risen by a factor of 5 over the last few years.
Qatar are big exporters of gas just like us and their exports are worth $26.6 billion per year for that country. We export more gas and its only worth $600 million to Australia. So not only are we sending all our gas off shore we are giving it away to the point that it’s literary cheaper to import our own gas back than buy from the local supply. In simple figures for every $1 dollar Australia receives for a unit of gas Qatar receives $43 dollars. It’s the same product sold to the same markets.
ARENA needs to be left alone to help roll out big ticket renewable energy projects including big batteries, more robust transmission systems, pumped hydro and the back end infrastructure we need to transition to 100% renewable. While the nay sayers say it cannot be be done, we Tasmanians have been living the renewable energy lifestyle through Hydro Electricity for years, so we know that it is achievable. Let the experts in the industry keep doing their thing and leave these ideological political thought bubbles out of the scenario.
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