Energy workshop in Shepparton | river herald
A businessman from Mooroopna has advocated for a biogas facility in the Goulburn Valley, harnessing agricultural waste and producing affordable gas for industry.
Gouge cleaning company owner and former political candidate Rob Priestly highlighted the huge task facing a transition to renewable energy and the prospect of soaring gas prices, which would hurt the industry regional.
At a Greater Shepparton Committee breakfast on Tuesday morning, he made a case for developing methane production from agricultural waste readily available in the area.
“One of the factors that underpins our prosperity in this region has been the supply of 50 years of cheap natural gas to our manufacturers and food processors in the region,” Priestly said.
“Even if the gas has exploded, if you convert to electricity, it’s still more expensive.”
And for electricity, transportation is a huge cost.
“Biogas can be cheaper than gas, capturing methane from agricultural or food waste,” he said.
He said the power grid was miles away from being able to handle gas-to-electric capacity.
Damian Heath, managing director of Wengfu Australia, also spoke at the energy forum, explaining the link between gas and rising fertilizer prices.
His company produces around 15-20% of the fertilizer used in the Australian market, and Mr Heath said Australia was a “price taker” in the market.
“Ammonia is the precursor to all nitrogen fertilizers and a large part of all fertilizer products,” he said.
Victoria is a large consumer of fertilizer and Northern Victoria comprises a large share of the state market.
He said imports accounted for a large percentage of consumption and therefore import prices dictated the final price.
Commonwealth Bank economist Vivek Dhar described the impact of the war in Ukraine and the effect of sanctions on European oil and gas consumption.
At the start of the war, Russian oil supplies plummeted, but in recent months other economies have been buying more Russian energy, particularly India and China.
More information on the energy forum next week Country News.