As politicians continue to trade barbs over the merits of renewable energy versus coal-fired power generation, missing from the debate these days has been the role of gas.
Just five years ago, gas was acclaimed as the perfect fuel to transition the country from reliance on coal to renewables.
It has long been touted as the holy trinity of energy - it's reliable, it's cleaner than coal, and it's affordable - well, it used to be.
As the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station in Victoria next month approaches, debate around Australia's energy security is intensifying, especially after the recent blackouts and price spikes in South Australia and Queensland.
Early this month, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said increasing gas supply was "vital for our energy future".
So why didn't gas take its place as Australia's transition fuel?
We have some of the world's biggest gas deposits; by 2021, we're set to become the world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, overtaking Qatar.
Soaring demand from countries including Japan, China and Korea - which are used to paying higher prices for their gas - drove some of Australia's biggest oil and gas companies, including Santos and Origin, to develop coal seam gas in Queensland, investing $200 billion along the way, including the construction of three massive export terminals off the coast at Gladstone.
The Grattan Institute's energy program director Tony Wood believes the development of coal seam gas in Queensland probably wouldn't have happened at the same speed - and perhaps not even at all - if Australia's gas market had not been opened up to exports, given how small the domestic market is.
But the development had some unintended consequences.
"It connected Australia's gas market, which had been very low price, to the international market, where those high Asian prices meant that consumers in Asia were prepared to pay more for our gas," Mr Wood said.
"That meant inevitably that the domestic gas price was going to rise ... of the order of twice as much as domestic gas consumers had been paying for the last several decades."
Queensland gas production not meeting LNG export demand
Bruce Mountain, an energy economist and director of the consultancy Carbon + Energy Markets, observed that no one predicted just how big the appetite for Australian gas would be once the Queensland gas boom kicked into gear.
"When the LNG plants were planned it was foreseen that coal seam gas in Queensland would account for a much greater proportion of the gas to be exported," Mr Mountain said.
"What we've found is the production from those fields is not sufficient to meet the demand and, as a consequence, the existing gas reserves in the Cooper Basin and the Gippsland Basin and offshore basins are being exported, and that's meant a very sizeable increase in gas prices."
So as much gas as possible is being siphoned off to satisfy demand from our Asian neighbours who, like us, are looking for cleaner, stable energy sources.
The prices paid by energy users, such as companies and households, are higher because they're linked to the global market.
But the introduction of the carbon price in mid-2012 made gas more competitive as it boosted the price of high emissions fuels like coal, noted Malcolm Roberts, the chief executive of oil and gas lobby, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.
"Coal is a very cheap fuel, gas is a little bit more expensive, so without a carbon price or some form of constraint gas is not as competitive against coal," Mr Roberts said.
"The assumption had always been that, over time, gas-fired generation would provide more and more of that reliable power - particularly baseload power - that we need.
"It would replace coal, reducing emissions from the generation sector."
The carbon price lasted just two years until it was axed in 2014.
Since then, coal generation has risen and gas generation is down and, in the meantime, some states have banned or limited gas development, especially for so-called unconventional gas, such as coal seam gas.
Gas may become 'far more important in coming decades'
After last year's blackout in South Australia, the Federal Government set up an independent report into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market, led by chief scientist Alan Finkel.
His preliminary report, released late last year, warned: "Additional gas supply is urgently needed but the domestic supply is constrained by international LNG demand, state and territory moratoria, low rates of exploration and pipeline capacity shortages. This is adding to price pressures."
Now, calls are growing for a portion of Australia's east coast gas to be set aside or reserved for domestic use.
Western Australia already does this and, last month, Queensland earmarked any additional gas produced from new exploration ground in the Surat Basin for domestic use.
But the Federal Government opposes the idea, as does the gas industry - instead they're calling for an end to the state limits on coal seam gas exploration.
Mr Wood said while gas may no longer have a role as a transition fuel, due to the absence of any kind of price on carbon, it will still be crucial as a source of reliable power at times of peak demand.
"It could be the role of a gas generator to be able to come on quickly and balance an increasing proportion of renewable energy," he said.
"That may be far more important to Australia's energy security in the coming decades."