Australia Push against green bank investing in gas
Energy industry: Gazprom wants to pump more gas to Europe
The cold winter is causing the reserves in German storage facilities to decline further. The delivery bottleneck also has to do with the dispute over the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. © dpa The storage tanks are filled in summer and emptied in winter. The German gas storage facilities are now only a good third full. The fill level is currently 34 percent. At the same time last year it was 81 percent.
The federal government's attempt to invest taxpayer money in new gas projects faces stiff opposition in parliament.
It comes as a new competition watchdog report warns of a looming shortfall of gas on Australia's east coast.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report shows that while local prices dropped during the pandemic, overseas customers are still paying less for liquefied natural gas compared to local users.
"LNG producers have not provided an adequate explanation as to why this is the case, or why we should accept it," ACCC boss Rod Sims said.
Future proofing: Australia's gas networks look to go green with hydrogen
Future proofing: Australia's gas networks look to go green with hydrogenMELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's natural gas pipeline owners are working to future proof their A$75 billion ($59 billion) in assets amid a global push towards clean energy, running tests to blend hydrogen with gas and produce green methane to replace the fossil fuel.
"It is concerning that the risk of a gas supply shortfall in Australia's southern states continues, despite this having been a looming issue for some time.
"It is crucial that investment decisions are made now to ensure there's enough supply, and to provide downward pressure on future price rises."
The federal government is pushing ahead with its Underwriting New Generation Investments scheme to fill the gas gap, which would put taxpayer funds towards projects.
The scheme is on the auditor-general's list of potential audits for this year.
Companies were asked to submit expressions of interest before details of the scheme were created.
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is attempting to set up a $1 billion fund which would then give the Clean Energy Finance Corporation money to support the projects, which he says will make the electricity grid more reliable.
The Weekly Planet: The Big Idea From Bill Gates’s New Climate Book
Call it the “Gates Rule.”
Federal parliament is currently debating the planned changes, with Labor and independent MPs introducing their own tweaks to the bill.
The opposition doesn't want the green bank to invest in fossil fuels, for there to be a return on investment, and for the CEFC to decide which projects get funds instead of the minister.
Labor's energy spokesman Chris Bowen says gas will play a role in Australia's energy system for the foreseeable future until other options are available to support renewables.
"It has a role to play and it's important, but it is not a low-emissions technology, and the government is engaging in sophistry by suggesting that it is.
"Changing the definition to allow investment in gas flies directly in the face of the CEFC's mission, which is to support renewables generation."
Independent MP for Indi Helen Haines has introduced changes to ensure projects benefit their local communities.
She shares Labor concerns projects handed money through the new fund don't need a return on investment.
"The government is trying to change the rules to allow investments into fossil fuels that lose money, that lose all our money," Ms Haines told parliament.
Mr Taylor says gas is key to Australia's economic recovery from the pandemic.
Blame the wind? In Texas, fossil fuels have actually played a larger role in leaving millions without power .
Freezing cold temperatures have caused severe power outages in Texas. A majority of lost generation has been from fossil fuels, not wind. But the main factor is not the source of electricity, but the extreme weather. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. It's a popular claim and a powerful image, attracting the attention of conservatives and headline writers of all political persuasions: frozen wind turbines are to blame for Texans losing power and icicles forming their homes during this week's shocking cold spell.