Are renewables the answer to high gas prices?

Rising gas prices are an increasing concern for the many Australians struggling to pay their household bills.

A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance has shown that Australia has significantly expensive gas, ranking in at number 36 for the world's highest prices.

Bloomberg claims that relying on fossil fuels for electricity in Australia is only getting more expensive, as using wind energy to produce electricity is now cheaper than using coal or natural gas.

Australia's Clean Energy Council agrees, with its chief executive David Green commenting that rising gas prices are about to hit Australia hard and if we do not act soon, affordability of gas will be difficult.

"With a domestic supply crisis looming, gas prices are predicted to double or even triple within 10 years on the east coast of Australia. If we don’t act soon to reduce consumption and invest in alternative sources of energy, that light at the end of the tunnel could turn out to be an oncoming freight train," said Mr Green.

Mr Green described this not only as a challenge but also as an opportunity, whereby Australia can diversify its energy supply with renewable sources.

Investing in clean energy, he said, would maximise the economic potential for gas exports and ensure the energy would remain affordable for domestic users.

Advantages of renewable generation and smarter energy technologies, such as wind, bioenergy and solar,are that they can help to prevent a price skyrocket and can also help gas exports remain a positive contributor to Australia's economy.

"Renewable sources of energy are largely immune to the kinds of international cost pressures that are forcing up prices for businesses and consumers, so investing in renewable energy is a sensible and safe approach to ensuring Australia’s continued energy security," said Mr Green.

Mr Green referred to Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET) having already delivered $18.5 billion of investment into the clean energy industry, with $3.7 billion worth of projects in the pipeline, still in the development or construction phase.

As well as this, the burden on the consumer to fund the RET is forecast to fall to 4 per cent of the average bill by 2020 from the current level of six per cent, showing it's cheaper than ever to invest in clean and smart energy technology.

Those concerned about rising gas or electricity prices may consider consulting an electricity comparison service to ensure they are getting the most competitive deal.

Posted by Callum Fleming