Geelong community call for renewables, not gas

COMMUNITY GROUP CALLS ON PLANNING MINISTER TO REJECT CORIO BAY GAS TERMINAL

By Mike Vanderkelen

The community group Geelong Sustainability has called on Geelong residents to petition the state planning minister Richard Wynne to reject the gas import terminal proposed by Viva Energy for Corio Bay.

Viva’s proposal was the subject of a community briefing last night which was attended by more than 100 people.

Event organiser Sally Fisher said the number of people who attended the briefing “exceeded our expectations and indicates significant community concern about the gas import terminal.” 

The briefing covered what this proposal might mean for Geelong and Victoria’s energy, business, economic, recreation, environment and climate future.

Given the implications of the proposal, a key aspect of the briefing was an outline of the Environmental Effects Statement process, how it runs and opportunities to participate in this.

Ms Fisher said “Viva’s proposal takes our community in the wrong direction. Fossil fuels like gas and coal are on the way out. Viva should focus on 100 percent clean energy instead.

“Viva says it supports the transition to cleaner sources of power but so far the only detailed proposal is to import gas, a dirty, polluting fuel that can be as damaging to our climate as coal.”

“Geelong can be a renewable energy hub. We have the infrastructure, skilled workforce, and proud manufacturing heritage to position our city as the place for a rapidly growing clean energy industry, especially given our proximity to the big battery planned for Moorabool.”

The petition to the Minister can be found here: www.geelongsustainability.org.au/grng

About Geelong Sustainability
Geelong Sustainability is a dynamic and passionate community group focused on sharing information, building community resilience, advocating for the environment and supporting effective action for a low carbon future. For more information visit www.geelongsustainability.org.au


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GEELONG GAS TERMINALS WOULD POSE MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL THREAT 

Community group Geelong Sustainability (GS) says the Victorian Government’s rejection of a floating gas terminal in Westernport on environmental grounds shows why proposals for similar terminals in and near Corio Bay should also be rejected.

Spokesperson Sally Fisher says “Not only do these proposals point to how damaging such terminals can be to Corio Bay and the nearby Ramsar Wetlands off Avalon but the demand for gas is falling and may virtually disappear because it can’t compete with renewables or green hydrogen.”

“The State Government’s decision is a clear pointer to how damaging these terminals can be and we are very concerned for Corio Bay,” she said.

A summary of the Government’s report says that marine discharges from the proposed floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) will result in ongoing stress to the environment over the 20 year life of the project.

The report says the adverse direct and indirect effects of that discharge on environmental values, fundamental to the Ramsar status of Western Port are not compatible with the level of protection required in a wetland of recognised international significance.

The two terminals proposed in Geelong are also close to, or situated within, Ramsar sites at Point Wilson/Limeburner’s Bay and the shoreline of Avalon.

Meanwhile the Australian Energy Market Operator, in its annual gas statement of opportunities, says future demand for gas does not list a single situation where gas demand increases over the next 20 years.

“Rather the report says it is more likely that small and large consumers will choose electric options powered by renewables, rather than gas,” Ms Fisher said.

“Normalize calling it “fossil gas.” It is not a “bridge fuel” it is a fossil fuel, which makes it part of the problem not part of the solution. Also it is NOT clean – homes with fossil gas stoves have a 40% higher risk of asthma in children than homes with e.g. induction stoves.”
~ Peter Kalmus, NASA climate scientist working to revoke fossil fuel’s social license

Letter to the editor of Geelong Advertiser:

GEELONG WELL PLACED TO JOIN CLEAN ENERGY MOVE

“As the energy market moves on, Geelong needs to be forwardlooking, too.

I think Dale Jennings is right to acknowledge the economic contribution of the Viva-operated Shell refinery, (GA 2/3). It seems undeniable though that, whilst it was a worthwhile investment in its time, this won’t continue indefinitely.

I see that the Australian Energy Market Operator has abandoned plans to model a ‘gas-led recovery’ after key energy market stakeholders panned it as unrealistic. The energy industry itself is moving on, and Geelong is well placed to move forward with it.

With countries all over the world signing up to zero-emissions targets, the challenge now is to get on board to service this growing clean-energy market and plan a timely and just transition for workers into new, future-proofed jobs in clean-energy industries.”

Full name supplied, North Geelong

Gas stinks and we want a clean energy future instead!

Australian Parents for Climate Action

Experts’ insights on the future of gas

31 March 2021 event online:

The Morrison government has touted a “gas led recovery” but does that make any sense?
• Do we need more gas?
• Where does gas fit into the picture for the Australian and Victorian energy mixes (if at all!)?

Hear from two experts who will help answer these questions and more:

Tony Wood is Director of the Grattan Institute’s Energy Program and is a former senior executive at Origin Energy.

Bruce Mountain is an energy economist and director of the Victorian Energy Policy Centre at Victoria University.

Don’t miss these experts’ insights on the future of gas.

  • make sure you register to get the Zoom link:

Gas pricing is high and is widely forecast to remain high. And gas emissions must come down under the Paris Agreement and future climate-budget scenarios. As a consequence, gas demand is in a downward spiral, due to the price and due to climate imperatives. Victoria and other southern states are already getting on with the renewables electricity transition. And the world looks set on developing green Hydrogen as the new ‘fuel’ for steel-making, high-temperature industry, and export. So, what does this all mean for gas?

Tony Wood
is at the Grattan Institute. Tony has been Director of the Energy Program since 2011 after 14 years working at Origin Energy in senior executive roles. From 2009 to 2014 he was also Program Director of Clean Energy Projects at the Clinton Foundation, advising governments in the Asia-Pacific region on effective deployment of large-scale, low-emission energy technologies. In 2008, he was seconded to provide an industry perspective to the first Garnaut climate change review.

Tony will look at the broader regional factors that have resulted in gas being expensive and subsequently gas-use declining, and why it is set to remain that way. He will touch on international influences such as the Biden election and his executive action to tackle climate change. Tony will look at what our Federal government should do to begin planning for a future without natural gas, or at minimum, gas in a minor role.

He will point to the low emissions alternatives such as renewables-based hydrogen and renewables based electricity. Moving away from gas could have some perceived short term pain for the long term gain, so discussing the rationale widely is essential.

How should Governments be approaching the situation, at Federal and State level?

Bruce Mountain
is the inaugural Director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre. He is a well-known Australian energy economist whose research and advisory work has focused on the economic regulation of network monopolies, the analysis of retail energy markets, and the design of emission reduction and renewable energy policies. Bruce has been a long-standing advisor to governments, regulators, market participants and interest groups in Australia and internationally. Bruce has been analysing the overall Victorian energy transition to low emissions at the lowest cost for a number of years.

With the decline of the Bass Strait gas fields, and the recently announced Altona refinery closure by Exxon-Mobil, Victoria finds itself dependent on expensive gas and imported oil. All resulting in less fuel security for Victorians as well as less jobs.

This might be the perfect storm economically for fossil fuels as the global pressure ramps up to reduce carbon emissions. Bruce will share his views and some analysis of the road to a better future. A road that lessens the energy cost for households, while reducing emissions in line with Victorian legislation and the Paris Agreement.

How should Victorian Government do this?

Don’t miss these experts’ insights on the future of gas.
Make sure you register to get the Zoom link:

7.30pm on Wednesday 31 March on Zoom and Facebook Live.
Organised by Lighter Footprint.