A survey conducted for The Australian by Hall & Partners Open Mind, a research company, revealed that more than one third of 101 senior managers believe that the country is ill prepared to handle future high energy demand.
High Energy Demand Projection
The energy demand in Australia is projected to increase by 50% by 2020. In addition, it is estimated that at least $37 billion will be required in energy investments by 2020 in order for the nation to meet this high energy demand.
The need to satisfy this high energy demand, while shifting to low-emission technologies pose a great challenge to those who are tasked with its development. The country’s future growth and improvement of living standards heavily depends on how this challenge on Australia’s energy future is overcome.
The development of the country’s abundant low-cost energy resources is the key to meeting high energy demand and Australia’s future prosperity.
Being the largest exporter and the world’s fourth largest producer of coal are things to be proud of. Australia supplies 8 per cent of the world’s requirement for liquefied natural gas. It possesses 40 per cent of the world’s low-cost uranium reserves.
The country also has significant oil reserves although they are projected to decrease if no new discoveries are found. There are significant amounts of wind and solar resources in the country and limited hydro supplies.
Despite all these energy resources, the survey still opens up important points of discussion. The survey participants said that the top challenges are related to affordability and pricing of Australia’s energy future in order to effectively manage high energy demand.
About one fifth of the respondents warned about managing rising energy prices, and about the same number said renewable energy sources must be supplied at affordable prices. The increase in commercial renewable energy applications is being riven by the Renewable Energy Target.
Based on recent data, electricity costs in the country is among the highest in the developed world. Government officials say that this is due to the implementation of the renewable energy target and the implementation of various federal and state government policies.
Philippa Purser, the managing director of Cargill Australia warned that energy prices were her biggest concern. She called on the energy industry, the government and the public to work together in finding a solution to the problem.
Fifty nine per cent of the respondents of the Hall & Partners survey are willing to support a gas reservation policy if it was implemented. This policy will earmark a certain amount of natural gas for the local market, instead of exporting it to other markets abroad.
About half of the respondents of the same survey believe that there will be an increase in gas prices if gas exports flowing from billions of dollars of LNG projects are increased. They also feel that this energy future projection will lead to more dependence on coal-fired energy.
Most of the respondents of the survey believe that Australian companies need to show greater commitment to using green energy sources and should be provided with tax breaks by the government for setting up and using solar power in order to meet high energy demand.