AS a fossil-fuel user, Snowy Hydro's plan for a gas-fired "peaking" station at Kurri Kurri is automatically drawn into the debate on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
One set of considerations lie with the state of the rapidly changing National Electricity Market.
But more fundamentally, a gas turbine cannot operate without gas, and as things stand, the only source of gas for a new Kurri Kurri power station is the Eastern Gas Pipeline operated by infrastructure company Jemena, owned by Chinese and Singaporean interests.
Jemena's website includes a monthly summary of "available" gas, out to the end of next year, but regardless of these figures, supply between Sydney and Newcastle is generally regarded as tight.
Snowy Hydro already owns the 667-megawatt Colongra gas-fired station on the Central Coast.
It has confirmed gas limits that mean using its "lateral" connecting pipeline for storage as much as supply, and a Kurri station joined to the main line would have to do the same.
Additionally, energy company AGL is proposing a 250-megawatt gas-fired peaking station at Tomago as part of its post-Liddell suite of generating capacity.
The Tomago plans have been around for almost 20 years, begun by the NSW government's Macquarie Generation before it was sold to AGL.
Together, these plants will likely need more gas than the east coast pipeline can presently supply, which helps explain why gas company Santos is so keen to get its Narrabri coal seam gas project up and running despite widespread environmental opposition to the project.
An alternative is to bring gas in by ship. Gas from northern Australia means we now vie with Qatar as the world's biggest gas exporter.
But our domestic shortages mean various "import" terminals are proposed for NSW and Victoria.
Gas is widely accepted as playing a major transitional role as the power grid shifts to renewable sources.
But it can't do so, without a supply.
A supply, that as things appear today, will need to be bolstered.