Aussie PM reveals plan for gas-led recovery from COVID-19 recession

Xinhua News Agency | Sep 15, 2020 at 8:53 AM

CANBERRA, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has identified gas as one of the pillars of energy plan for the nation's economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

In a major pre-budget speech on Tuesday, Morrison announced that his government would support a new gas-fired power plant in New South Wales (NSW).

The new plant will replace the lost power generation caused by the 2023 closure of the Liddell coal-fired power station if the private sector fails to "step up" and release a plan by April 2021.

Morrison also committed to establishing a gas distribution hub. Modelled on the Henry Hub in the United States, the Australia Gas Hub will be fed by gas from up to five basins and will transparently set the reference gas price for the Australian market.

Morrison said that delivering gas at competitive prices would provide a boost for Australia's manufacturing sector in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

"Cheaper, more abundant gas is the second pillar of our energy plan for COVID recovery. We've got to get the gas," he said in the speech.

"As I said at the Press Club earlier this year, there is no credible energy transition plan for an economy like Australia that does not involve the greater use of gas."

The government has previously identified gas as a key energy source as Australia transitions to renewable sources.