Natural gas stands out as the obvious cleaner, efficient and water friendly fuel for the transition to a future of carbon-constrained power generation.
The 2020 Summit was divided into ten broad streams of which “˜The Future of the Australian Economy’ and “˜Population, Sustainability, Climate Change, Water and the Future of our Cities’ were most directly relevant to the pipeline industry. The issue of energy security was also raised in the stream entitled: “˜Australia’s Future Security and Prosperity’.
A major thematic of the summit was the development of a seamless national economy, with single national markets in areas such as taxation, energy, water and transport – clearly a reflection of the Federal Government’s policy.
The 2020 Summit Report indicates a rethink on the previous government’s approaches to energy regulation and environmental health and safety, among other issues.
Of potential interest to pipeliners is a specific priority to set a simpler national regime for third-party access across various forms of infrastructure, with the intention of promoting competitive pricing and adequate returns. APIA will continue to monitor this issue to ensure that pipeliners are not disadvantaged.
The climate change stream similarly emphasised an integrated, whole-of-government approach to emissions trading with clear targets and measurement with independent reporting. This session was one where significant disagreement amongst participants was reported in the media, particularly in relation to the future of coal-fired power and the viability of carbon capture and storage. It appears that coal industry representatives were successful in ensuring that “˜clean coal’ is high on the list of the new government’s climate change priorities.
The future security stream noted energy security challenges and proposed a high level advisory council for emerging food, water and energy security challenges.
The Summit outcomes seem to be a reinforcement of the existing direction of government policy, specifically in the streamlining of regulation across jurisdictions and the commitment of government to some form of Emissions Trading Scheme.
APIA will continue to promote the view that economic efficiency and growth will be best served by continuing private sector investment in natural gas infrastructure. The private sector stands ready to invest in further development of natural gas transmission infrastructure, as well as in CO2 pipelines required for carbon capture and storage.