Posted September 29, 2018 04:15:14 When it came to natural energy, it was easier to point to climate change and blame it on a warming climate, a new study suggests.
“We have a pretty good idea that natural gas is more expensive because of climate change,” said study co-author John O’Brien, a climate scientist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.
“But we still don’t know how much of the cost of that has been offset by other sources.”
He and his colleagues compared energy costs for natural gas in Australia, the United States and Europe, using data from the International Energy Agency.
“Natural gas is not the only energy source that has to be taken into account when you look at global energy prices,” he said.
“There are also other energy sources that have been over-predicted by the market.”
The findings will likely cause some consternation among the global energy industry.
“This study is important for the energy sector,” said Michael Pollard, chief executive of energy research firm Statoil.
“The study suggests that, even if we get the Paris Agreement right, there’s still a lot more to do.”
The International Energy Market Statistics Centre released the study, published in the journal Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, earlier this year.
It found that natural energy prices rose in most countries in the first half of this century.
But that was a little less true in Australia.
The country’s natural gas prices were higher than those of other major economies, and it had a lower CO2 emissions per unit of energy produced.
That may not sound like much, but it represents the biggest gap between the cost and the amount of energy that is actually being produced, said Pollard.
“If you take Australia’s gas costs out of the equation, that gap is much wider,” he told Business Insider.
“And it is much bigger than the gap between coal and oil.”
The study found that the gap was larger than the average for all countries except the United Kingdom, where the gap narrowed to an average of less than a third of the world’s total energy costs.
That’s the difference between the cheapest and most expensive energy, which is why the average cost of natural gas was actually higher than the world average.
Australia’s average cost per unit was almost four times the world price.
“What’s important is that this paper is about price-setting,” said Pollards colleague David Schulz.
“It’s about setting prices that are more affordable than other countries, and that is something that we haven’t seen before.”
This is also the biggest price gap between energy suppliers and consumers in the world, the researchers found.
The average cost for a typical residential customer in Australia was $2,049 in the second half of the century, which was nearly a third higher than for the world.
However, the gap shrunk to a cost of $1,038 in the last five years, the study found.
“Australia is a very, very large country, so it’s a very large market,” said O’Connor.
“That’s why we’re seeing the gap grow, but there’s also a lot of room to make adjustments in Australia.”