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Matt Kean: Environment Minister goes against PM in dismissing gas as part of energy future

NSW Environment and Energy Minister Matt Kean last night claimed gas was a “hugely expensive” way of generating electricity and does not have a long-term future — despite PM Scott Morrison’s new push to invest in gas.

In a speech launching a youth wing of the climate change group Coalition for Conservation, Mr Kean also claimed climate change was the “biggest challenge that will face our society and our economy in our lifetime”.

Despite his own government backing a new gas project at Narrabri — with the final approval decision to be announced by the Independent Planning Commission on Wednesday — and the PM’s major pivot towards gas, Mr Kean poured water on its future.

He argued that wind and solar, backed by the Snowy Mountains hydro project, would provide cheaper electricity for families, but did not mention the current government subsidies for renewables, which were recently estimated at $536 a year on household electricity bills by economist Dr Alan Moran.

“So those people arguing for coal or nuclear or for gas, they’re actually arguing more expensive, dirtier forms of energy,” Mr Kean said.

“So my view is that governments should be supporting technology, which will deliver the cheapest form of reliable energy possible.

“And right now, that’s not gas. That’s not coal, that’s certainly not nuclear. It’s wind and solar backed up by pumped hydro and batteries.”

He said gas had a role to play in the short term, but was a “hugely expensive way of generating electricity” and once the Snowy Hydro project came on board, “then the business case for gas is on the clock”.

“If you’re a betting person and you saw cheaper forms of cleaner technology coming down the pipeline, let me tell you, you won’t be betting taxpayer dollars on gas,” he said.

The Coalition for Conservation lobby group was set up by Liberal powerbroker and lobbyist Michael Photios’ wife Kristina, and holds forums to encourage Liberals to campaign on climate change.

Mr Kean also said if Joe Biden wins office in the US in November, he would have a net zero carbon emission policy for 2050.

Source: The Daily Telegraph