PROCEDURE: If and when Stanwell decides to close the Tarong Power Station it will need to give three years' notice.
PROCEDURE: If and when Stanwell decides to close the Tarong Power Station it will need to give three years' notice. Katherine Morris

More Queensland gas fields needed

ON FRIDAY last week the Federal Government released chief scientist DrAlan Finkel's Future Security of the National Electricity Market Report.

It outlined how we will deal with energy production with a view to reducing our greenhouse gas output.

The chief recommendation is to establish a Clean Energy Target to reduce emissions while ensuring a stable power supply.

New gas fields

More Queensland farmland will be open to gas mining to help meet the Clean Energy Target set by the Federal Government.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state will increase production of natural gas to meet the increase in demand that is likely to occur when the southern states move away from coal-fired power.

"That is why my government announced the release of an additional 395square kilometres of prospective tenements in the Surat Basin that would be used solely to supply the Australian gas market," she said.

"That area complements a 58 square kilometre area released under a pilot program earlier this year."

The report recommends capping gas exports to ensure there is enough supply in the domestic market to ensure prices andenergy capacity stay stable.

Despite the government's call-out it is unlikely we will ever see gas exploration in the South Burnett.

Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group's John Dalton said it was tried in the past and failed.

"We have never had coal seam gas in the South Burnett," Mr Dalton said.

"Because we don't sit above the Great Artesian Basin but what we have had here instead is underground coal gasification, which is UCG."

Unlike CSG fracking, which uses pressurised water to trap gas, UCG burns coal underground to force gas to the surface.

Mr Dalton said when Cougar Energy, now Moreton Resources, tried to harvest gas this way they had an underground event that blew their pipes out.

Other similar failures lead to the practice being banned.

Closing old power stations

When it comes time to shut down old power stations, the operators will have to give at least three years' notice.

This is to stop situations like what happened in Victoria when Hazelwood closed in March this year.

Even though there had been talk of the site closing as early as 2009, in the end workers were given about six months' notice.

New power grid

The report recommends a system-wide grid plan to help guide renewal investment.

This would also include a list of potential priority projects to enable development of renewable energy zones.

As renewables become cheaper, investment in them will increase.

"Reductions in the cost of solar and wind technologies continue to exceed expectations," the report said.

"Over the past seven years, the cost of wind has dropped over 50% and solar PV costs have dropped over 80%."

Supporting renewables

All new renewable developments will need to ensure they can maintain voltage in frequency.

This means wind and solar power stations will have to build extra storage capacity or develop on-call capacity.

This on-call power generation can also take the form of on-site gas generators.

Of greenhouse gas emissions produced by our domestic power consumption, about 56% come from black coal while 38% come from brown coal and 6% from gas.