It’s Wednesday, party people, and if we can get through this we can get through anything!
It’s Matilda Boseley here, and let’s kick off the morning by talking about gas.
Yesterday the Morrison government confirmed it will fork out up to $600m to build a new gas-fired power plant in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, despite experts warning the fossil fuel investment doesn’t make all that much from a commercial perspective.
To complicate matters this news comes a major report was handed down by the world-leading International Energy Agency, which found fossil fuel expansion must end now if the planet is to address the climate crisis.
It says humans have a “narrow and extremely challenging” pathway to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which is the most generally agreed-upon climate change prevention target around the world. Australia hasn’t actually committed to this, with the Morrison government saying it would “preferably” like to achieve this target.
But it looks like that word “preferably” is doing a lot of heavy lifting this morning because on Tuesday night the government announced was dedicating unallocated funding in last week’s budget to the publicly owned Snowy Hydro Ltd plan to build a 660-megawatt gas plant at Kurri Kurri.
If you haven’t been following along, basically Scott Morrison has been pretty dedicated to the idea of gas-fired power plants in the area, going as far as to warn last September that taxpayers would step in if the private sector did not commit to building at least 1,000MW to replace the Liddell coal-fired generator in 2023.
(Energy Australia announced it would build a 316MW gas hydrogen plant last week.)
But it isn’t just the environmentalist lobby that’s against the plan, industry experts have also said investments in a gas power plant made little commercial sense given the abundance of cheaper options flooding the market.
I’ll bring you comments from the Energy Minister shortly, and no doubt the prime minister will face some tough questioning from reporters if he speaks publically today.
Well, let’s no delay any longer and jump into the day!