May 1, 2020 Read More →

Fracking royalties to top off Clean Energy Future Fund in WA

PV Magazine:

Western Australia’s (WA) McGowan Government has dug deep into its pockets, possibly even beyond the knuckles, to establish a $9.28 million Clean Energy Future Fund. 

Interestingly, royalties from future unconventional onshore oil and gas projects in WA will be directed into the fund to top up the initial Government seed funding. Despite what you might think, ‘unconventional gas’ is not that gurgle in one’s stomach before it suddenly drops, but rather, it is a euphemism for ‘fracking.’ Along with the Northern Territory, WA lifted its moratorium on fracking in 2018 and began welcoming applications in 2019.

The McGowan Government seems then to be falling in line with the Federal Government. Last week, Energy and Emissions Reductions Minister Angus Taylor suggested that the Government is bent on investing in gas projects to provide more “cheap energy” to the market to help lead recovery from COVID-19; and then that the falling price of gas during COVID-19 could be used to support fast-start gas plants that help bring more renewable energy into the grid.

However, Independent MP for Warringah, Zali Steggall told Natalie Filatoff of pv magazine that she strongly disagreed with the Government’s thinking, “because at this point there does not appear to be a commercial or market viability” to invest in gas projects. The stimulus to take us out of Covid-19 and into the future, believes Steggall, must be aimed at “markets, technologies and industries that have a future.”

Bruce Robertson, Energy Finance Analyst for Gas/LNG at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) emphatically agrees with Steggall, telling pv magazine, “The surest way to destroy national wealth is to back industries that are proven losers.”

[Blake Matich]

More: Fracking to help fund WA’s Clean Energy Future Fund

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