Australia could see shift to natural gas-fired power plants

Australia has long been heavily reliant on coal for its energy, with some of the largest coal reserves in the world. But Power Engineering Magazine reports that a recent white paper suggests the country could soon see a dramatic shift toward natural gas-fired generation

The white paper, produced by the Australian Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, is the first of its kind since 2004 and suggests that the country could see a major shift in its electricity industry with the introduction of recent environmental policies. 

The nation became the first to implement a tax on carbon emission in 2011, a move that could prove costly for coal-fired power plants over time. 

With costs for coal rising, the paper suggests that many companies will begin to diversify their fuel sources. While 75 percent of the country's electricity came from coal in 2008-2009, with only 15 percent coming from natural gas plants, gas-fired generation could grow to as much as 44 percent of the country's energy by 2050. 

The Department of Resources Energy and Tourism reports that New South Wales, the heart of the nation's coal industry, would face the steepest shift, with coal accounting for more than 90 percent of the state's capacity. 

PennEnergy's Research area offers further analysis of the natural gas outlook in Australia.

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