In the last 24 hours, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal – How Energy-Rich Australia Exported Its Way Into an Energy Crisis. The by-line of the article was:
The world’s No. 2 seller abroad of liquefied natural gas holds so little in reserve that it can’t keep the lights on in Adelaide—a cautionary tale for the U.S.
For those who can’t get the whole article, here is a snippet:
Resource-rich Australia has an energy crisis, one that offers lessons for America as it prepares to vastly increase natural-gas shipments abroad.
Australia now exports so much liquefied natural gas, or LNG, it may overtake No. 1 exporter Qatar within several years. It exported 62% of its gas production last year, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
Yet its policy makers didn’t ensure enough gas would remain at home. As exports increased from new LNG facilities in eastern Australia, some state governments let aging coal plants close and accelerated a push toward renewable energy for environmental concerns. That left the regions more reliant on gas for power, especially when intermittent sources such as wind and solar weren’t sufficient.
Shortages drove domestic gas prices earlier this year in some markets in eastern Australia to as high as $17 per million British thermal units for smaller gas users such as manufacturers. On the spot market, gas prices have gone from below $1 in 2014 to roughly $7 today—well above the roughly $3 that prevails in the U.S.—causing havoc around the country.
In March, Australia’s largest aluminum smelter cut production and laid off workers because it said it couldn’t secure enough cheap energy. During one blackout last year, some families lost embryos in an in-vitro-fertilization clinic with no backup generation, according to a government-commissioned report. In February, some tuna fishermen watched catches rot because freezers shut off.
Does this not leave you with a feeling of pride? I would suggest it warms the cockles of my heart, but the energy costs are too high to warm anything any more.
I wonder what is the greatest moral challenge of our time? Is it climate change or is it voluntary energy and general poverty?
Good thing for Kev he lives in New York with their cheaper energy costs.