AEMO forecasts energy shortfall

The looming energy crisis, which includes electricity outages and gas shortages, is receiving more focus on a daily basis.

AEMO, our national energy market regulator, is forecasting a best case shortfall of 54 petajoules (PJ) of gas for the 2018 September quarter.

For context, Aussie homes consume ~30 gigajoules (GJ) per year. A PJ is 1 million GJ. That ‘best case’ shortfall is equivalent to the annual consumption of ~1.8 million homes or ~20% of all Australian households.

The scale of this issue is clearly significant.

The below article from The Australian ($) highlights:

  • Australian industry groups call for gas export controls to secure domestic supply
  • Blanket bans on new gas development in some states are putting energy security and affordability at risk, further threatening jobs
  • Gas industry lobby is calling for bans to be lifted on new gas development

Compounding the issue of the gas shortfall is the increased reliance on gas-fired power generation to fill the baseload gap left by the ‘double whammy’ of the closure of coal-fired power stations, combined with the increased reliance on intermittent wind and solar. When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, gas ramps up to meet demand.

Closer to home, here in our own state of Victoria, industry and jobs are under threat from increased electricity and gas prices and the impending gas shortages. Businesses that rely on utility scale heat generation (milk processors, timber dryers etc) previously used brown coal briquettes until the briquette plant closed in 2014.

Those that were close to the gas network, and could afford to do so, switched to gas. Unfortunately for these businesses the gas price has since skyrocketed and gas supplies are uncertain. Jobs are at risk. To survive, some businesses have been importing black coal from New South Wales and Queensland at significant cost.

These businesses are seeking to restore energy affordability and reliability. They need to decouple from gas. They need an alternative.

This has presented an opportunity for ECT to supply Coldry solid fuel from our pilot plant northwest of Melbourne.

As outlined in our ASX announcements during the course of the past year, we’ve been running trials of our Coldry solid fuel with a consumer in Western Victoria.

The tests program has covered the recommissioning and reconfiguration of moth-balled briquette boilers to use Coldry pellets. The test program is ongoing and we have received sufficient expressions of interest from a range of businesses to warrant the recent commencement of a feasibility study for the deployment of a zero-emisions Coldry demonstration plant here in Victoria (link).

While the current energy crisis will eventually settle, it will take time to fix the systemic cause of the current issues, such as lifting the ban on gas development in Victoria, that led to the current problem. This presents an opportunity to provide energy diversity and security through our Coldry process, providing businesses with the ability to switch between gas and solid fuel to control their energy costs and hedge against energy policy uncertainty.

To read more from The Australian, click the link below:

Gas supply ‘threat to 100 regional cities’

The Australian | 26 September 2017

Australians are exposed to gas shortages so great they could halt power to 100 regional cities over the course of a year, according to a grim new warning that gives Malcolm Turnbull clear advice to impose drastic export controls to prevent the crisis…

Source: Gas supply ‘threat to 100 regional cities’