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Thursday, 14 March 2013
Page: 2258


Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (12:26): Today I would like to talk about Australian and global demands on energy now and into the future. I will give a brief insight into Australia's energy requirements over the next 30 years. Some of these figures have come from ExxonMobil documentation that they delivered to me over the last few weeks.

The world's population will increase by 25 per cent from seven billion to nine billion over the next 30 years with 75 per cent of the world's population living in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. Electricity generation will grow by 50 per cent. Electricity and natural gas will account for 60 per cent of the world's demand for residential and commercial requirements. That is as of today. Heavy duty transport fuel will grow by 65 per cent over the next 30 years. Light vehicles will become more efficient and be probably more battery operated, but demand for light vehicle fuel will grow as the demand grows. Diesel will account for 70 per cent of the growth in transport fuel. Industry demands will grow by 50 per cent.

Interestingly, China's demand for energy will decline by 20 per cent from 2025 to 2040. Up until that point it will still keep growing. Nuclear and natural gas generation will increase 150 per cent in non-OECD countries. Demand for oil and gas supplies will increase by 60 per cent. Based on current demands we have 200 years of natural gas available. Gas will grow faster than any other major fuel source. As for our minerals, which do align themselves with energy: iron ore, coal and gas will be in high demand from China and India both now and in the near future. After those countries' demand for minerals, you will see the rest of Asia and Africa will increase their demand for energy supplies.

In Australia the lack of R&D and investment in vital infrastructure programs can see us lose out in the marketplace to supply these commodities internationally. It is quite interesting to note that our forefathers had the foresight back in 1903 to build a water pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie. At 530 kilometres it then was the world's longest pipeline to provide fresh water and probably still is now. Those guys had the foresight to put water into Kalgoorlie and those areas. Of course, that opened up the opportunity for gold mines et cetera.

Where are we now? We use a lot of fossil fuels, which we have traditionally done. They produce petrol, diesel, kerosene, tar, oils and greases. We use liquid natural gas, brown and black coal in coal fired power stations and coking coal in steel manufacturing. We use some biofuels, such as ethanol. We have the renewables: wind, solar and hydro. Windmills are having a few concerns, with a restriction zone of five kilometres around each windmill, and, of course, solar becomes far less attractive when you take away the government support. There are some environmental issues with hydro. I recall that Tully, in North Queensland, had its future mill stopped many, many years ago. We have seen what happened with the earthquake in Japan, but uranium is used in countries in Europe and there are nuclear powered submarines et cetera in the US naval fleet.

America has found future fuels in the fossil fuel line and they should become self-sufficient in the not so distant future. I do think coal will still be king as it is still very cost effective. Coal seam gas will be prevalent on the east coast of Australia and will supply over 85 per cent of all gas. For nuclear power, waste disposal is a real issue. For renewable energy, the target of 20 per cent by 2020 is totally unachievable and not very cost effective. We will have to do a lot of work on biofuels because they are not popular. We will have to get motoring groups like the RACQ to— (Time expired)