Interview with Ali Clarke and David Bevan - ABC Radio Adelaide


4 November 2019


DAVID BEVAN: Angus Taylor now joins us, he's the Federal Minister for Energy, regarding this new power station which will begin generating here in Adelaide. Good morning Minister.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Morning. Thanks for having me.

DAVID BEVAN: Now what does this mean for the grid here in South Australia? I suppose it's another power station generating, opening, that's got to be good?

ANGUS TAYLOR:  It sure is. It's more supply and that's what we need in the South Australian market and markets right across the east coast. The South Australian markets typically around 1,500 to 2,000 megawatts and this is adding 210 megawatts - so it's a big addition, 10 per cent or so of peak demand and that makes a real difference in this market. Its fantastic news because it means when prices go up, new supply comes on and pushes them down. Importantly it's a capacity that will be available on those peak days, those hot days where we know demand is at its highest, and that's critical to keeping the lights on and keeping, obviously, businesses in business because they've got access to energy when they really need it.

DAVID BEVAN: Now, what's this station running on?

ANGUS TAYLOR: It's running on gas, so it is what's called a gas reciprocating engine and it is able to turn on and off very quickly which is one of the great advantages of gas. It can get to full speed in about five minutes which is very quick, and can make a real difference in those moments where its most needed. A good example of that is when the sun goes down or it goes behind a cloud, we desperately then need energy to come on fast and that's what this can do.

DAVID BEVAN: And is that why the Labor Government in Victoria should reconsider its ban on fracking?

ANGUS TAYLOR:  Look, their ban is on all gas - conventional and non-conventional. We just want more gas in the market. They could lift the ban on conventional gas tomorrow and you'd immediately see investment going in to getting more supply into the market. So look, we do think it should be removed, I see Joel Fitzgibbon has been arguing for that today and I think he's got it absolutely right - we don't always agree with people on the other side of the parliament but we like it when we do agree of course, and this is one where there is agreement.

DAVID BEVAN: But fracking as well?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, actually, the extraordinary thing about this ban is it's across all technologies and we want good projects to get up to get more supply in the market place, and they could remove the ban on conventional gas and make a real difference straight away.

DAVID BEVAN: And on fracking?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, that's a matter for the Victorian Government. What we want is more supply and we want good projects to get up, and that's the key. This should be happening as quickly as possible, it should never have been in place in the first place and we need the supply in Victoria. It's having an impact on other states. You know, let's be clear, this is contagious. When you don't have enough supply in the market place, everyone else has to pay for it and that's exactly what's happening.

DAVID BEVAN: Would you like to see the Marshall Government lift its ban on fracking in the South East?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well as I said, I mean I'm a broken record here, but what we want is more gas. That is what we need, we need more gas in the market place in the southern states and we're going to push that. Obviously, states have got to make their own decisions on local environmental approvals for projects, but that can be completely consistent with getting more gas into the market place.

DAVID BEVAN: But is the ban on fracking here in South Australia holding back investment and production of good gas?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well I say, any restriction on gas that means projects that can be environmentally friendly and don't get up is a restriction, is pushing up the price of gas and pushing up the price of electricity. So, you know, all governments should be making sure they're getting into the market. The truth is the South Australian Government over a long period of time has had a good track record of getting supply into the market. South Australia has been one of the great suppliers of gas to the Australian market and that's a good thing. The ban in Victoria is right across the board - that's what makes it so dangerous, and why it's having such a big impact on electricity prices. But the broader point here today is, getting new gas generators into the market place can put downward pressure on prices, it can make sure we have power when we most need it and that is something we're going to keep encouraging every day of the week.

ALI CLARKE: Federal Minister for Energy, Angus Taylor, thank you.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Thank you.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction