Claims by Kevin Rudd that the Gorgon gas project must go ahead on an A-class reserve at Barrow Island so that the project’s emissions can be sequestered in reservoirs beneath the island are undermined by the proponents’ own figures, Greens Senator for WA Rachel Siewert says.
“Out of the nearly nine million tonnes-a-year of CO2 emissions that the Gorgon project will create, the proponents quite clearly state that they planning to geo-sequester less than half,” Senator Siewert said.
“It is therefore a furphy that keeping greenhouse gas emissions low is the main reason for the proponents to build on Barrow. The real reason is simply cost, because Barrow presents a cheaper option for the proponents than building an LNG plant on the mainland.
“Given the very poor track record of carbon geo-sequestration projects around the world to date, I also fear that given the weak conditions imposed on the development, the proponents will eventually allow all 8.81 million tonnes-a-year of Gorgon’s carbon dioxide emissions to vent into the atmosphere.
“That could mean we’re looking at this project emitting the equivalent emissions of eight new coal-fired power stations.
“Even with carbon geo-sequestration, Gorgon represents as many annual emissions as five new 200MW coal-fired power stations.
“Putting the LNG plant on the mainland would not only avoid unnecessary irreparable damage to a fragile offshore environment and species living on Barrow, it would also allow for the co-location of other industries boosting skilled jobs and the local economy.
“This comes at a time when renewable energy technologies in Western Australia are ripe for commercial roll-out, including solar thermal and wind, with wave and geothermal close behind.
“It’s clear that Western Australia has massive potential for job creation and zero-carbon base and peak-load electricity generation using renewable energies.
“What a difference it would make if the Rudd and Barnett governments put the same amount of energy into encouraging renewable energy developments as they have into Gorgon.
“A multi-billion dollar investment in solar thermal and wave power would see a huge boost to WA’s economy and a tremendous reduction in our greenhouse emissions, and it would set us up to be an export hub for renewable energy instead of more polluting fossil fuels.”
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Note to editors:
Gorgon proponents plan to inject 3.36 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year into reservoirs beneath the island and vent another 5.45 million tonnes annually into the atmosphere - refer to WA Environmental Protection Authority report No 1323 (April 2009), page 30 (p.39 on computer screen) at http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/docs/2937_Rep1323GorgonRevPer30409.pdf