Greens MP John Kaye
Greens MP John Kaye Trevor Veale

Report lists CSG and nuclear as future energy options for NSW

COAL seam gas and nuclear power must be considered if New South Wales is to have secure electricity supplies.

A NSW Government committee has this week tabled The Economics of Energy Generation to Parliament, making 24 recommendations on how best to keep the lights on in the state.

Of those, one suggests the state speed up its sale of government-owned power assets.

Two recommendations cover CSG.

One pushes for a government "public education campaign" on CSG that would include facts on risks to the environment, regulation and possible benefits of producing the gas.

Another suggests the creation of an expert panel - working with scientists - on how best to deliver affordable gas to the state.

Nuclear power pops up in a later recommendation, with the committee calling for a possible Federal review on legislation banning nuclear power plants.

The report also considers the use of renewable energy from solar and wind power to emerging technologies including biomass and geothermal.

Committee chair and Liberal member for Davidson Jonathan O'Dea said NSW needed a proper mix of power suppliers if electricity was going to be affordable and available.

Mr O'Dea said people needed to make decisions on where their electricity comes from through facts and "not a scare campaign".

"We are saying there should be a wide range of options that should be properly considered," Mr O'Dea said.

"We're not saying we should build nuclear power plants but mindful of the evidence presented, we believe it would be healthy to have an educated and informed debate.

"Equally, we are saying CSG should also be looked at in an intelligent, sensible way with scientific experts.

"Not based on a scare campaign from those who have an interest in looking at thing less objectively than they should be."

The State must act on the report within six months.

Opposition to the CSG industry in New South Wales has been fierce, particularly in regional areas where thousands have protested against energy companies.

Greens New South Wales MP John Kaye said the committee had been "distracted" by nuclear power and CSG when the focus needed to be on renewables.

"The CSG recommendation was for a propaganda campaign," Mr Kaye.

"It was an unnecessary waste of money.

"Any investigation into energy generation in NSW should be focusing on existing renewable energy sources and on emerging technologies."

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association - the peak body for the industry - welcomed the report.

Spokesman Rick Wilkinson described CSG was a "game changer" capable of keeping power prices low.

"Not only will we see the creation of thousands of jobs, as has happened in Queensland, but regional economies will also be revitalised," he said.

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