According to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), electricity supply will be threatened as early as next year by “shortfalls in gas”, or failing that, households may face cuts to their gas supply.
Can the political debate about Australia's “energy crisis” get any more weird?
In public policy, there are many dog’s breakfasts presented as considered initiatives. Rarely, though, are we served up such a self-contradictory, irrational and generally talentless a dish as the new “energy intervention” announced by South Australia’s Labor government on March 14.
Aimed at side-stepping conservative attacks over recent power cuts, the government’s plan makes some provision for storage back-up to underpin wind and solar. But mainly, the $550 million scheme consists of large-scale concessions to fossil fuel interests — in this case, the gas industry.
Generating electricity using renewable energy is now cheaper than using fossil fuels, but mining companies, banks and governments in Australia continue to invest significantly more in coal, oil and gas than wind and solar.
With the passage of the Climate Change Act (CCA) that mandates a target of zero net emissions by 2050, Victoria is formally in the leadership among state and federal governments.
On March 7, Victoria became the first state in Australia to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), the dangerous process used to mine unconventional gas. This important victory sets the stage for other states to follow.
The Victorian government has also decided to extend the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling until June 30, 2020.
A Lakota prophecy tells of a mythic Black Snake that will move underground and bring destruction to the Earth. The “seventh sign” in Hopi prophecy involves the ocean turning black and bringing death to many sea-dwelling creatures.
It does not take an over-active imagination to make a connection between these images and oil pipelines and spills.
Santos released an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on February 1, declaring it intended to develop a controversial gas reserve in Narrabri, in north western New South Wales.
Farmers, townspeople, Traditional Owners and environmentalists are opposed to the proposed gas field: an overwhelming 96% of landholders, representing 3.2 million hectares of land over which Santos holds leases, have declared their lands “gasfield free”.
Santos wants to drill 850 wells at 425 sites on about 1000 hectares in and around the Pilliga State Forest, near Narrabri.
The New South Wales state government has released changes to the state’s planning law which, if passed, will grant big mining companies more power and reduce communities and councils’ already limited rights of appeal.
The government says the changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act) 1979, released on January 9, are primarily about promoting “confidence” in the state’s planning system.