Answer"Electricity generated by Australian natural gas is an important backup when conditions don’t suit renewables."

In other words, when conditions don’t suit renewable-electricity generation (particularly solar or wind), natural gas can be used to maintain the supply of electricity. 

According to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) 

“After coal-fired generators retire, gas will be needed to support energy supply during periods of renewable drought and of extreme peak demand.” 1 In other words, gas can help maintain the reliability of power to households and businesses when renewables cannot by providing additional capacity that can “be turned on or off, without being dependent on the weather”. 1 

Gas is also critical to the Government’s target of 82% renewable electricity by 2030 

According to Chris Bowen, Minister for Climate Change and Energy: 

“As aging coal-fired power stations leave the grid, that 18 per cent will increasingly be focused on gas. Gas is a flexible fuel necessary for peaking and firming as we undertake this transformation.” 2 

This is backed up by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, who suggest in their 2023 Annual Climate Change Statement that: 

“[Australia’s] future electricity system will require a significant increase in firming technologies like dispatchable storage, hydro, as well as a continuing role for gas fired generation.” 3 


AEMO, Draft 2024 ISP, 2023
The Hon. Chris Bowen, Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Transcript of Minister’s speech to CEDA WA Energy Transition Summit, 17 November 2023
DCCEEW, Annual Climate Change Statement 2023, 2023