Cheap Reliable Electricity

Last weekend I visited my mother in Gippsland. In doing so, I drove through the LaTrobe Valley.  The development of brown coal mining and the generation of electricity in the valley a century ago is a testament to the foresight of previous generations of Australians.  Similarly, the development of the gas and oil reserves off the coast of Gippsland contributed to our continuing prosperity.

The economic development of Victoria is built on the generation of cheap, reliable power. This will be as true for the future as it has been for the past.

There is enough brown coal beneath the surface of the LaTrobe Valley to provide electricity for generations to come.  Equally, there are significant reserves of black coal in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. There are also vast reserves of gas, both onshore and offshore.

These issues are relevant to the current debate about energy.

As the blackouts in South Australia – and the possibility of similar events in Victoria – remind us, renewables such as wind and solar are unreliable and incapable of delivering base-load power. The South Australian government has belatedly recognised this by re-opening a gas-fired power station.

Yet we have a government in Victoria which is happy to see the closure of power stations, and bans the exploration of gas reserves in the state. This is economic madness.

The standard of living we enjoy today is based on the availability of cheap, reliable electricity. Unless we are content to allow the standard of living to fall for future generations, we must ensure that we use the bounteous natural resources we have in Australia.