The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed the NSW energy deal announced last week by the state and federal governments, saying it will provide much-needed security for business and industry as the country transitions to a lower-carbon economy.
The $2 billion deal will deliver a range of initiatives designed to increase gas and electricity supply by encouraging investment, improving grid security and supporting emissions reductions.
Hunter Business Chamber CEO, Bob Hawes, said that this package will help avoid further supply shortfalls and provide a win/win for businesses and the community.
“This package of measures promises to bring down costs while boosting confidence that we can avoid looming supply shortfalls,” Bob said.
“In recent years, gas prices in NSW have tripled. With NSW production decreasing, gas has had to be shipped longer distances into the state.
“As our detailed report Running on Empty released last December found, this imposes cost increases on smaller businesses of $26,400 per year for a typical commercial bakery, $66,000 per year for a galvanising plant or $369,600 per year for a tomato processor based in NSW, compared with an equivalent business located in Queensland.”
Bob said that as well as prioritising new gas production at Narrabri, the joint plan must also ensure that new LNG import facilities can progress, including the Newcastle GasDock proposal at Kooragang.
Also, new investment in pipeline infrastructure should be brought forward so that gas can get to where it is needed.
“Gas generation can help the state reduce its power sector emissions while ensuring that our industry sectors remain competitive,” he said.
“The transition process must be practical, supporting industry as they seek to develop and convert to new technologies.
“Businesses have consistently identified energy costs as one of their leading priorities for cost savings. If this announcement delivers the savings promised it will come as welcome relief and a significant boost to the productivity of the state’s economy.”
IMAGE | New energy deal to provide promising future for Hunter business & industry sector