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: Power-generating urinal pioneered in Britain

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

Power-generating urinal pioneered in Britain

14 hours ago

British scientists on Thursday unveiled a toilet that unlocks energy stored within urine to generate electricity, which they hope could be used to light remote places such as refugee camps.

Why your laptop battery won't kill you

Mar 03, 2015

News on Tuesday that major U.S. airlines are no longer going to ship powerful lithium-ion batteries might lead some to fret about the safety of their personal electronic devices.

New incubator network to help clean-energy entrepreneurs

Mar 03, 2015

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have launched the Clean Energy Incubator Network. The program, funded by the Energy Department, aims to ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.