Research sheds light on coal seam gas versus renewable energy

Jun 26, 2013

(Phys.org) —A shift from coal-fired to gas-fired power generation will not significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions, new research by the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland has found.

Energy economics researcher Professor John Foster said the modelling indicated that a transition to gas-fired generation reduced emissions only marginally, and that wholesale prices would be higher than with a renewable energy option.

"The findings contradict a widely-held view that renewable energy is too expensive compared to fossil fuels, and too unreliable to be a major component of Australia's generation by 2035," he said.

"There is no justification for the claim that a high proportion of energy sourced from renewables will drive up wholesale costs, in comparison to a power system heavily dependent on ," Professor Foster said.

This finding comes as the Australian government deepens its commitment to developing coal seam in order to supply lucrative export markets and transition domestic power generation.

Professor Foster said a shift away from coal to lower-emissions gas was required in order to create greater resilience in Australia's power market, but he warned that coal seam gas was not a silver bullet.

"A mix of large-scale renewable energy generation, including solar and wind, together with consumer action to use power more efficiently, will deliver the most resilient Australian power market by 2035," he said.

"While our findings might indicate that pursuing a gas-centric scenario will lead to increased prices and reduced , they may not be sufficient to change the dominant industry view which is intent on replacing coal with gas," Professor Foster said.

The UQ researchers used a commercially-available modelling package, PLEXOS, to model what a transition to gas-fired generation would deliver and compared that to a transition to power from such as solar and wind.

Go here for a copy of the working paper.

Explore further: Germany must spread cost of energy shift fairly: IEA

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fully renewable electricity could be competitive

Apr 03, 2013

(Phys.org) —A carbon price of between $50 and $100 per tonne of carbon dioxide would make coal-fired and gas-fired power less economical than renewable electricity, a UNSW study shows.

Germany must spread cost of energy shift fairly: IEA

May 24, 2013

The International Energy Agency said Friday that Germany must shield its consumers from paying too much of the cost of its ambitious switch from nuclear power and fossil fuels toward renewable energy.

German greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2012

Feb 25, 2013

Germany saw increased emissions in greenhouse gases last year due to more coal and gas usage while the country seeks to develop its renewable energy sources, officials said Monday.

Most coal must stay in ground to save climate

Jun 17, 2013

Most fossil fuels must remain in the ground because burning them will unleash changes that will "challenge the existence of our society", a new Australian government agency report warned Monday.

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...