Powering past gas: An energy strategy that works

12.06.24 By , , and

Australia’s shift to clean energy is well underway. Already, around 40 percent of the electricity in our main national grid comes from reliable clean energy sources, like solar and wind. More than 3.5 million Aussies have solar on the roof, and households are disconnecting from gas like never before. To slash climate pollution further and faster while delivering a more affordable and resilient energy system, we need to accelerate this momentum. 

So let’s talk about gas. Gas is a fossil fuel that produces a lot of climate pollution throughout its supply chain, which means it is harming us wherever we extract, process and burn it. In spite of the damaging contribution it has made to global warming, gas has been an important energy source for Australia and our international trading partners. But this is changing rapidly as we move to renewables backed by storage in our grid, electrify our homes and start to swap gas for cleaner alternatives in our industries. Our trading partners are on the same journey, and already using less gas as a result.

As we power past gas, Australia can meet our own energy needs at all times and help our trading partners do the same. If we don’t there’s serious economic and environmental consequences.

Gas has served Australia in the past, but it’s time to get real about moving on. By acknowledging that Australia’s gas supply from existing sources will reduce over time, we can fully channel investment, workforce and supply chains towards growing new Australian industries with a bright, long-term future – like green metals, clean manufacturing and zero emission fuels.

For Australia and our international partners to keep thriving, we need to balance energy demand and supply as we shift to a clean energy economy. There are several ways we can do this. The Australian Government’s Future Gas Strategy, released in May 2024, pays far too little attention to the huge opportunities created by electrification and fuel switching, which will continue to slash demand for gas – both in Australia and internationally. Worse, it also assumes we will dig up, sell and burn huge amounts of gas long into the future, and recommends the development of new gas fields in Australia to provide this supply

Gas has a small and shrinking role to play in our future clean energy mix. This report shows how we can balance our energy needs on the way to a cleaner energy system and take charge of the change that is underway in global energy markets. We can make better choices today which will protect our kids from more climate pollution and step decisively towards the next era of Australian prosperity. A real strategy for the future of gas in Australia is one that powers us past this polluting fossil fuel and into a cleaner energy system.

Key Findings

1. The world is embracing clean energy, not gas.

2. A surge in new projects means, globally, there will soon be too much gas.

3. Australia can reliably meet our energy needs without new gas.

4. We need new policy thinking, not new gas.