I understand that AEMO (the Australian Energy Market Operator) includes the projection in its June 2018 Gas Statement of Opportunities that there are no supply gaps forecast before 2030 ...
In which case, why is AGL pushing to build a giant new gas IMPORT terminal close to sensitive Westernport wetlands ?
If this worrying plan were to proceed, can AGL guarantee there will be no damage to the Ramsar-listed wetlands of Westernport Bay?
Can AGL guarantee that there would be no damage to Ramsar listed wetlands on Westernport Bay from the proposed terminal?
As Victoria is a net exporter of gas now, why should a Ramsar listed wetland be compromised for this project?
Has AGL considered ways to reduce the need to use gas by switching to renewable electricity where possible?
What impact on global warming will the proposed terminal have?
How is the project consistent with the need to reduce greenhouse gasses as a matter of high priority?
Has any regard been given to the impact of the project on the amenity of Westernport Bay?
I agree that it makes no sense what so ever to build an import terminal when Australia is currently the second biggest exporter of gas in the world. This at a time when we need to drastically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gas. Why risk an environmentally important area when there is no need for it.
Apologies for the delay, this was posted in our general forum however it has now been moved over to our dedicated Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project group.
There are mixed views reported in the media about whether gas is needed or not which has made some members of the community question the rationale for the project.
Early in 2018 the media reported Victoria would experience significant gas shortages within three years based on a gas forecast report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) despite falling gas consumption in the state. AEMO told the media it was hoping the report would encourage a market response to help fill the gap but warned some intervention may be needed if the private sector does not come up with a solution.
In the June 2018 AEMO Gas Statement of Opportunity, the AEMO stated ‘no supply gaps are forecast before 2030 under expected market conditions.’ But the AEMO’s executive general manager of planning and forecasting, David Swift still warned that the supply-demand balance in the Australian gas market was still very tight.
"An increased need for gas-powered generation due to weather related or contingency events could still adversely impact this forecast and tighten the supply demand balance once again," Mr Swift said.
The latest AEMO 2019 Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO), released on 28 March 2019, said the east coast gas market faces tight supply from 2021 and shortfalls from winter 2024 if more is not done to replace rapidly declining output from Bass Strait and supplies from Queensland limited by pipeline capacity.
‘‘Southern Australia’s overall supply demand balance for 2021-2023 remains very finely balanced, reflecting the ever-tightening integration of Australia’s electricity and gas markets in the context of an evolving and dynamic energy system,’’ said AEMO’s chief system design and engineering officer Alex Wonhas told the ‘Australian Financial Review’ when the report was published on March 28, 2019.
The report said:
“Supply from existing and committed gas developments is forecast to provide adequate supply to meet gas demands until 2023. However, risks remain that any weather-driven variances in consumption or electricity market activity that could increase gas demand, creating potential peak-day shortages as outlined in AEMO’s 2019 Victorian Gas Planning Report.”
In the short term the need for Gas Power Generation (GPG) would be a key factor:
“The key uncertainty that could have a material impact on gas supply adequacy in the short-term is the level of GPG demand. Demand for GPG in the NEM is highly variable, and is influenced by weather conditions, the reliability of coal-fired generation and coal supplies, the timing of new generation and transmission development, and the retirement of ageing thermal generation.”
The report also supported the development of LNG import terminals and said:
“Continued interest in LNG import terminals, particularly in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia, would be expected to help relieve pressure on meeting southern gas demand during peak periods and assist in reducing pipeline constraints, but may do little to ease gas pricing pressures.”
The report also said within the next five years, domestic gas demand, particularly in the southern states, will be difficult to meet in its entirety without either:
· Exploration and development of new southern resources, or
· New gas supplies delivered via LNG import terminal, or
· Major pipeline infrastructure expansions to deliver Queensland and Northern Territory gas southwards, or
· A combination of all three.
It also supported a Victorian-based LNG import terminal and said:
“Without any upgrade to the existing pipeline infrastructure: An import terminal in Victoria, either Melbourne or Gippsland, has the biggest projected impact to reduce projected shortfalls. In addition to providing an additional unconstrained source of gas for Victoria, this terminal is projected to reduce pipeline and storage infrastructure congestion, enabling greater access to supply from northern fields.”
We cannot guarantee that the project would have no impact on the environment, and we realise for many in the community, this is not good enough.
The Victorian Government has required us to undergo an Environment Effects Statement to assess the potential effects of the project on the environment and assess alternatives to avoid and mitigate effects.
The Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said “The EES will investigate the proposal’s effects on native vegetation, wildlife and marine life as well as Aboriginal cultural heritage areas.” The scoping requirements for the EES and further information can be found here.
If the potential impacts cannot be acceptably addressed the project would not go ahead.
We understand there are concerns in the community about the impact of this project on Westernport Bay. We are in a difficult position because our customers area also going to be very concerned if we don’t supply them with gas.
While the studies completed to date in the preliminary assessments demonstrate that the impacts to the environment associated with this project will have minimal impact on the environment, an in-depth investigation is being undertaken as part of the Environment Effects Statement.
This was a requirement from the Victorian Government, predominantly because of community concerns around the environmental impact. It is likely that any impact considered ‘catastrophic’ in likelihood and outcome would prevent a project like ours from going ahead.
To even consider this project, we must plan for any possible failures (the worst-case scenarios) assuming they could happen no matter how unlikely.
As our Chairman stated at the 2018 AGM that: ‘Until this company and all companies can get to a position where they have zero incidents in environmental safety or whatever they're not doing a good enough job. ‘
There are serious and legitimate concerns with a project like this, such as damage to the wetlands, safety concerns around explosions and any risk of accidental spills. The EES will need to demonstrate whether these can be addressed and mitigated effectively.
Multiple bodies will oversee our conduct and management of risks in the approvals stage and, if it succeeds, during its operation. Appropriate checks will be in place.
The FSRU and visiting LNG carriers will be subject to oversight and regulation by numerous regulators and government agencies, including:
The project also must adhere to several legislative requirements, including:
AGL has yet to make a final decision to fully fund the proposed project. We will follow all assessment requirements deemed necessary by the government and regulatory bodies and are willing to be held to these standards.
If you are interested, we are discussing electricity at this forum topic here.
This topic here discusses greenhouse gas and the need to urgently decarbonise our fleet.
We understand that Western Port is a very popular area for recreational boating and fishing.
Exclusions zones around ships at port are currently 100 m. These exclusion zones currently in place may be adjusted to match the project. We know that some people like to fish near marine facilities as these offer shelter to fish and can stir up nutrients, but for security reasons these exclusion zones will need to be enforced.
The facility will have a shipping exclusion zone around the facility enforced 24 hours a day, and this will impact the current practice of sitting outside the Crib Point markers and casting in towards the jetty.
Recreational use of Western Port will be affected when LNG tankers are berthing. At those times through traffic will be restricted to allow tugs to safely berth LNG carriers but this already occurs when ships visit the United Energy, Bluescope and Esso facilities. If yachts are racing during berthing, these races may also be temporarily delayed but the Port of Hastings Development Authority publishes the schedules in advance on its website.
As the FSRU would be moored more than 500 m off the shore, there are no plans to restrict access to Woolley’s Beach Reserve. The onshore area will have security fence erected around it with CCTV cameras so the little short cut that exists on the north side of the land now will be closed off, however beach access will be maintained via the track to the submarine look out point.
The Port of Hastings Development Authority is looking at whether there will need to be a setback distance from LNG tankers as they enter but otherwise the same rules on right of way that apply now will continue.
Access at boat ramps around Western Port are not affected.
Please let us know if you have any follow up questions.