Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Australia-Japan: Energy Commerce

Australian Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson and leading players from the LNG and coal industries have converged on Japan in recent weeks to promote Australia's wealth of resource projects as medium and long-term sources of extra energy.

In an interview with The Australian in Tokyo, Ferguson describes the present conditions as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity for Australia's LNG, coal and coal-seam gas producers.

The International Energy Agency and Australia's peak commodities forecaster, the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics, have spoken of a "golden age" or "revolution" for the LNG industry, predicting Australia will soon become the second largest supplier behind Qatar.

Source: The Australian

Where's the renewable technology [especially geothermal]?

Whether Japan does or does not fully phase out its nuclear programme is yet to be seen. But it should be clear that any move in that direction would mean a greater reliance on fossil fuels. And there we will be, smack in the middle of it.

Dangerous and just a bit embarrassing [for whatever that's worth]. Profit at any price with little - if any - regard for environmental stewardship. I know, I know, "Japan's energy sources are Japan's sovereign decisions to make. If Australia doesn't sell energy to Japan - be it uranium or fossil fuel based - someone else will." Right?

Not completely; at least not to me. Within Australia, some good arguments have been made for not selling uranium to countries that may pose nuclear security and/or proliferation risks, even though in some cases 'someone else does'. Australia's decision to take the moral high ground on uranium lies in stark contrast to our fossil-based lust for the Japanese energy market.

Tell me again... why is the carbon tax so vital?


  1. I think the answer is to make Japan pay prorata carbon tax on LNG, thermal and coking coal. Since c.t. is meant to be revenue neutral they can ask for the money back to fund carbon mitigation programs in Japan.

    The price Japan is now paying for LNG ($15/GJ) is several times what gas fired power stations (albeit using piped gas under contract) could live with in Australia. Eventually that will make gas baseload and wind backup more expensive here.

  2. Or Japan could just keep the cash and commit to deploy their own mitigation technologies. I worry about the political temptation to double-dip. Take, for example, media events in Australia where politicians celebrate the launch of a wind farm as a demonstrated mechanism to cut carbon emissions. Hold on, wasn't this wind farm supposed to negate the added emissions from that desalination plant??? An erosion of efficiency for sure.

    But this strategy MAY enable Japan to keep its emissions constant. Any hope for emissions reductions will be very challenged.

    Back in Australia - until we begin to shut fossil stations down, we obviously need to do more. To be honest, I look forward to the day when we can just stop constructing new fossil stations.