Dr Alan Finkel's address to the National Press Club Australia 12 February 2020
“….Ultimately, we will need to complement solar and wind with a range of technologies such as high levels of storage, long-distance transmission, and much better efficiency in the way we use energy.
But, while these technologies are being scaled up, we need an energy companion today that can react rapidly to changes in solar and wind output. An energy companion that is itself relatively low in emissions, and that only operates when needed.
In the short-term, as the Prime Minister and Minister Angus Taylor have previously stated, natural gas will play that critical role.
In fact, natural gas is already making it possible for nations to transition to a reliable, and relatively low emissions, electricity supply.
Look at Britain, where coal-fired electricity generation has plummeted from 75% in 1990 to just 2% in 2019.
Driving this has been an increase in solar, wind, and hydro electricity, up from 2% to 27%.
At the same time, and this is key to the delivery of a reliable electricity supply, electricity from natural gas increased from virtually zero in 1990 to more than 38% in 2019.
Closer to home, look at South Australia’s success in increasing solar and wind electricity to 51% in the last fiscal year. Again, natural gas is key to the stability of the electricity supply, accounting for 47%…”
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