South Australia deliberates on fuel switch options


State government working group looks to develop policies and plans for a gas-powered transport sector

South Australia deliberates on fuel switch options
A SA working group will look at the feasability of widescale use of alternative fuels in the transport sector

 

Diesel could make way for commercial gas fuels in South Australia, if a new government working group is able to convince the state’s wider transport industry.

The Gaseous Fuels for Transport and Heavy MachineryWorking Group was established earlier this year, after the state’s Roadmap for Oil and Gas Projects report recommended a specific study on alternative fuel options.

It held its inaugural meeting in Adelaide on May 27.

That meeting heard from Gas Energy Australia CEO Mike Carmody, who says a wholesale switch to Australian natural gas (including compressed and liquefied products) or liquid petroleum gas could significantly reduce the environmental impact of the transport sector.

"Gas-powered vehicles produce up to 23 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their petrol and diesel powered counterparts, as well as up to 90 per cent less dangerous particulate pollution," Carmody says.

He says the gas industry is ready and able to supply enough product, but government policy also needs to be behind the switch.

"The gas industry is willing to invest in the technology and infrastructure needed to allow increased use of gas as a cleaner, cheaper transport fuel alternative, but supportive government policy is also needed as a driver for change.

"As it stands, current tax policy settings favour the use of foreign fuel, thereby discouraging the uptake of gas."

In addition to the environmental benefits, Carmody says improved fuel security is another reason to focus on gas.

This was also cited by Gas Energy Australia’s forward-gazing report into Australia’s likely 2030 fuel requirements.

"With Australia’s abundant natural gas advantage, it makes no sense for Australia to be fully dependent on imported, dirtier and more expensive fuels," its Vision report advises.

"We believe that Australians don’t want to be dependent on foreign fuel imports for our export industries like agriculture and mining or for our vital transport industries."

The Working Group’s first meeting also heard from Cartwheel Resources’ Rudy Gomez, and Elgas Limited’s Warring Neilsen.

They both advocated greater leveraging of South Australia’s shale gas reserves.

"While other alternative fuels like LPG continue to be high cost to import, shale continues be a more near term solution as accessing nearby shale gas resources would be cheaper than other options," Neilsen says.

The Working Group will meet again later this year to continue working towards the development of an agreed vision and supporting material.

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