Rally against power plans

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A RALLY to “save Western Port from two threats” is being held next month at Hastings.

Rally organisers say the threats come from power company AGL’s plan to moor a 300 metre long floating gas terminal at Crib Point and the building of a pilot hydrogen gas-to-liquid plant at Hastings.

While AGL plans to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be sold into the Victorian market after being turned back into gas, a consortium led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries wants to ship liquid hydrogen to Japan.

Under the $496 million project – subsidised with $50m each from the federal and state governments – hydrogen gas extracted from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley will be trucked to Hastings before being liquefied and shipped to Japan (“Parties unite over power” The News 17/4/18).

Last week AGL “guaranteed” to discount power prices to small businesses along its pipeline route from Crib Point to Pakenham if its floating terminal is approved by government’s and its own board (“Contracts ‘advance’ AGL’s gas plan” The News 12/6/18).

The hydrogen plan is facing criticism because the CO2 released in the process is planned to remain in Australia under unproven carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology while all the benefits are exported to Japan.

A brochure distributed at the same time as the announcement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of the federal government’s $50m involvement with Kawasaki said CCS would not be part of the pilot program “due to the low volumes of CO2 involved, equivalent to the annual emissions of about 20 cars”.

Kawasaki has estimated hydrogen from brown coal reserves in the Latrobe Valley could power Japan for 240 years.

Earlier this month Fortescue Metals chairman Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest announced that his company Australian Industrial Energy wanted to install a floating LNG terminal at Port Kembla, NSW. He said the $200-$300m plan was to bring gas to NSW and Victoria by 2020.

A community information and consultation meeting is being held by AGL about its plans for Crib Point at Balnarring Village Hall, 7.30pm next  Monday, 25 June.

The rally opposing the gas import and hydrogen export projects is being organised by the No AGL Gas Terminus for Crib Point group and Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council. It will be held at 1pm Sunday 1 July at the Fred Smith Reserve on Hastings Foreshore.

Details: savewesternport.org or wppcinc.org

First published in the Western Port News – 19 June 2018

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