Oil and Gas News

WA Government backs role of natural gas

The Western Australian Government has launched its first Whole of System Plan, which provides a 20-year outlook for the future of the state’s electricity network, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).

Energy Minister Bill Johnston outlined that the plan models four scenarios, detailing how changes in demand, technology, and the economy may shape the way electricity is used, and guide the investments made over the coming decades.

The WOSP also highlights the ongoing role of natural gas to power WA’s way of life.

APPEA WA director Claire Wilkinson said gas plays an important role in a low emissions future. “This enables renewable energy power generation to grow whilst also ensuring baseload power can be provided by gas generation when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow,” she said.

The report further notes that in 2020 gas remains the largest capacity provider, accounting for 52 per cent of large-scale generation, with one of the 10 key findings of the report highlighting the use of gas as supporting the growth in intermittent power generation.

“WA is not only blessed by plenty of sun and wind, but also sizeable reserves of natural gas,” Wilkinson said. “It puts us in the box seat to lower our emissions but also ensures we have a strong and reliable electricity system.

“Quite simply, natural gas is an essential part of our everyday lives in WA, powering our homes, schools, hospitals and other industries like mining and manufacturing. Supporting the responsible development of future gas resources, including those onshore in Western Australia, will be important to supporting our jobs and economy of the future.”

In addition, following the announcement of the WA 2020-21 State Budget, it reinforces the critical role oil and gas plays in supporting local jobs and the economy, highlighted by the recent challenging months of COVID-19.

Wilkinson added that the budget demonstrated the important contribution the industry makes to the state’s bottom line, with Treasurer Ben Wyatt acknowledging the ongoing operations of the resources industry through the pandemic.

Wyatt announced that over the next four years, a record $27.1 billion will be invested in infrastructure projects to support the WA economy and provide a pipeline of local jobs.

“In 2020-21 alone, operating expenditure and infrastructure investment is budgeted to be $4.8 billion higher than last financial year – a very substantial increase in fiscal support for the State’s economic recovery,” Wyatt said.

With the Budget also funding a number of new energy technologies, including renewable energy, APPEA has reinforced that natural gas will also be crucial to supporting the development of these industries through its supply of base load energy.