AGL's plan to import Liquid Natural Gas to Crib Point, and Kawasaki Industry's hydrogen exports from Westernport Bay represent a double threat to a natural wonder.
Take action and tell Premier Andrews to cancel the approvals.
Premier Andrews recently stated that Victoria produces more than 400 petajoules of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) each year, and we use approximately 200 petajoules. Though we produce more gas than we use, AGL say that they need to urgently import LNG to avoid a shortage in supply. A number of commentators say that the shortfall is being caused by companies like AGL selling too much of our gas overseas because international prices have been so high. Through the federal government’s aggressive pursuit of an LNG export industry, domestic consumers are now competing on the international market for their gas. As noted by business reporter, Michael Janda, ‘the reason we have a shortage is because we are shipping the vast bulk of it to Japan, Korea and China, not because we don't have enough.’
In August 2017 AGL announced that they had chosen Crib Point in Westernport Bay as the proposed location for a floating storage regassification unit (FSRU) to be permanently moored at the Crib Point jetty. This has been billed as a better, lower impact option than building an onshore regassification plant.
The proposed facility poses two separate risks to residents of Crib Point and the surrounding area: 1. The risk of gas explosion 2. The likely disruption to the temperature and quality of the waters of Westernport Bay.
Check here for further background on the AGL facility and potential environmental and public safety risks (the background was written by Julia Stockigt).
Coal to hydrogen project
The government has also supported a coal to gas project which aims to provide hydrogen to Japan. Although this project is only in a test phase, any hydrogen that is produced will be exported through facilities in Westernport. Should the project be commercialised, large volumes of potentially dangerous gas will be exported on a regular basis from Westernport.
To make things more complex, the Victorian government has committed to not allowing the coal to hydrogen project to proceed unless commercial scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) is ready to start. The CCS project is being jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and testing is currently underway in areas offshore from the 90 Mile Beach in Gippsland for potential carbon capture locations (check here for a background).
Energy policy – you can’t have it both ways
To its credit, the Andrews government has enacted a permanent ban on the process of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) to access natural gas in Victoria. It has also extended the current moratorium on drilling for conventional gas on land. As gas becomes ever more scarce, it is inevitable that gas prices will continue to go up. A sensible solution is to help householders and businesses to transition away from gas to renewable energy. Some manufacturing sectors, who currently need to be access gas at affordable prices could be prioritised for gas contracts until alternatives are developed. With the federal government pursuing the export LNG industry, this will also continue to drive up prices.
Despite sensible moves like the ban on fracking, the state government has now announced new offshore gas drilling opportunities. It has also approved the AGL facility despite the fact that there is no local gas supply shortfall, just a failure of the market to look after local consumers.
The time for fossil fuels is over
Transition is already starting in Victoria. While we have traditionally relied on brown coal to provide most of our energy needs, this is now changing. Unfortunately, for a long time governments relied on market forces to decide the future of coal and the Hazelwood power station was closed by its international owners, at considerable human cost to people in the Latrobe Valley.
Through the creation of the Latrobe Valley Authority and substantial financial support the Andrews government is taking an active role in helping the local economy transform itself. The Victorian Renewable Energy Target (the VRET) is driving the development of commercial scale renewable energy across the state. However, the state government has recently renewed the licenses for the remaining three coal fired power stations in the Valley – another example of the mixed messages this government is sending on energy policy.
For the government to be consistent on climate change, it must rule out further fossil fuel developments. This includes the AGL gas facility.
Find out more & get active
There is still time to stop the AGL project.
Sign our petition to the premier Daniel Andrews urging him to cancel the AGL approval.
Who funds AGL?