ScoMo, Gladys make ‘climate deal with the devil’
THE prospects of the $3 billion Narrabri gas project getting the go-ahead appear to have dramatically increased following a deal between the NSW and federal governments to massively increase supply.
Under the deal announced today, the state government must "facilitate investment opportunities to inject an additional 70 petajoules of gas per year into the east coast market".
When The Daily Telegraph this morning asked Premier Gladys Berejiklian how she planned to deliver on that, she replied: "Obviously the government's in the final stages of considering the Narrabri gas proposal. That will meet these targets."
Santos is behind the 95,000ha coal-seam proposal. It has been contacted for comment this morning.
The Premier did however add there were other options open to the government to find the 70PJ, including via new import terminals.
But Greens MP Adam Bandt slammed the proposal.
"NSW is doing a climate deal with the devil, locking in pollution that will blow Australia's emissions targets and put us on a path to climate catastrophe," Mr Bandt said.
"Toxic methane gas is not a transition fuel, it is a climate time bomb.
"Gas is a big part of the reason Australia's greenhouse emissions have been rising under the Coalition and this dirty deal will only make things worse."
Mr Morrison claims household power prices will be slashed under the multibillion-dollar deal that plans to use natural gas to shore up the state's energy supply while reducing carbon emissions.
A petajoule of gas can fuel an entire regional centre such as Wollongong or Penrith for a year.
It is understood NSW would seek to boost its gas contribution through increasing domestic production and international imports through existing major port terminals.
The landmark deal also includes funding as an incentive for companies to cut emissions, with $960 million in Commonwealth cash, including a minimum of $450 million in grants, to be matched by $1.01 billion in direct funding from NSW.
The huge investment comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised Australia would "meet and beat" its emissions reductions targets without driving up power prices.
The Berejiklian government has also agreed to "remove barriers to coal supply" to the Mount Piper Power Station.
Both governments will underwrite the delivery of the HumeLink and Queensland-NSW interconnectors to strengthen reliability in the electricity grid.
Meanwhile the Morrison government will support "new generation projects" in the NSW through an existing $1 billion underwriting investment program.
The final part of the deal includes financial support to establish a pilot renewable energy zone in the NSW central west to fast-track the connection of large-scale generators into the grid.
Mr Morrison said stepping up NSW's gas output was critical to driving down energy costs for households and businesses while reducing carbon emissions.
"There is no credible plan to lower emissions and keep electricity price down that does not involve the greater use of gas as an important transition fuel," he said.
"This plan is about getting greater access to that gas, as a vital accompaniment to our record investment in renewables."
Mr Morrison said the energy deal also outlined a "responsible transition" of the NSW electricity sector to lower emissions technologies, without decimating manufacturing jobs dependent on the industry.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said NSW already had a pipeline of large-scale renewable projects worth about $26 billion.
"Our agreement with the Commonwealth today will ensure we continue to strengthen and diversify our energy sector here in NSW," she said.