I have recently changed my gas supplier from Alinta to AGL because of your refusal to continue with the Liddell Power Station and what I had thought was your interest in renewables and the environment. I was very disappointed to find that AGL has a plan to turn Westernport Bay into a massive gas import terminal. This would spell disaster for the animals, birds and marine life that call it home. Right now, Westernport Bay is a wetland sanctuary for some of Victoria’s most loved species. If this project goes ahead, then Westernport Bay will change from a wetland sanctuary to one of Australia’s biggest gas import terminals, located at Crib Point. Considering that Victoria is already a net exporter of gas, could you explain why have you chosen a Ramsar-listed wetland site as the preferred location for this project?
Sorry for the delayed response here. We actually have a dedicated area of the community to discuss the Gas Import Jetty proposal, so I'm moving your question across to that space, where it's more likely to receive a reply.
We understand your concerns around the selection of Crib Point, particularly considering its environmental significance.
Australia is a major exporter of natural gas; however, most of this gas is not available to the south-eastern states. It has been a difficult realisation for many that the abundant gas supplies Victoria once enjoyed are in decline. Declining production from Bass Strait’s big legacy fields has meant Victoria needs to seriously consider and prepare for alternative sources of supply.
Even if the supply of gas from unconventional fields in Queensland was available to the pipeline connecting them with Victoria, Victoria would not be able to supply enough during peak winter gas demand due to the limited capacity of the pipeline. Gas supplies from the North West Shelf are not available to Victoria because there is no pipeline across the Nullarbor.
AGL is committed to helping shape a sustainable energy future for Australia.
We operate the country’s largest renewable electricity generation portfolio. We also operate the largest coal portfolio in Australia so we realise we are integral to the move out of non-renewable energy.
For us, gas is an enabler of energy transition. Over 80 per cent of electricity produced in Australia is sourced from the combustion of fossil fuels. Given the sheer scale, decarbonising the generation sector is likely to take several decades of replacing the existing generation fleet with low-emissions substitute technology such as solar and windfarms. To deliver reliable and sustainable energy at the lowest cost possible requires renewable energy from wind and solar combined with more flexible energy sources, like quick-start gas generation, that can be turned on whenever renewables are not available or don’t meet demand.
This mix of technologies can replace AGL’s Liddell coal plant when it closes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum. Reliable gas supply is a critical component of this replacement plan.
We know there are several environmental concerns that need to be addressed in detail as part of the assessment process, including those you have mentioned. The community have made their concerns known to the government and they have been successful in making sure they are now assessed independently through an Environment Effects Statement (EES) process.
It was not a decision we undertook lightly.
We investigated several different sites across Australia, including Crib Point in Victoria, Port Adelaide in South Australia and Port Kembla in New South Wales. The evaluation process considered several factors including access to key gas markets, cost of incremental pipeline transmission, availability of suitable land for onshore facilities, cost of existing or new build pipelines, existing investments within AGL’s wholesale gas portfolio and marine and port suitability.
Crib Point was selected due to its proximity to our largest gas market, existing jetty already importing liquid fuels and only requires bed levelling to shave off some high points at the berth.
There will still be some upgrade work s on the jetty to ensure it meets standards.
The project is still in the feasibility stage and AGL has yet to make a final decision to fully fund the proposed project. If these potential environment effects cannot be acceptably addressed the project would not go ahead.