Re: Ramsar-listed wetlands of Westernport Bay
Further to our discussion earlier, we thought you may want some more information that we have supplied other members of this discussion forum.
We agree Western Port is an important environmental asset that must be cared for and recognise the strongly held community views about the unique environmental significance of Western Port as a Ramsar site.
Over 80 per cent of electricity produced in Australia is sourced from the combustion of fossil fuels. Given its 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.
While we undertake this transition, the Gas Import Jetty will be used to provide a reliable and secure supply of gas for quick-start gas powered electricity generation which, in turn, is needed to enable a cost-effective energy transition to occur, both for AGL, and for the Australian electricity sector.
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. Pipeline capacity constraints and the lead times of new gas production underpin the proposals for LNG imports. Existing pipelines are unable to support more gas flows from supply-rich Queensland to south-eastern Australia where it is needed. Gas supplies from the North West Shelf are not available to Victoria because there is no pipeline across the Nullarbor.
We understand your concerns around the selection of Crib Point, particularly with its environmental significance. 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.
Our final decision was between Western Port and Hastings. Hastings required the construction of a new jetty as existing facilities are currently in use by other businesses. The construction of this jetty would have significant environmental impacts including deep dredging. To accommodate an FSRU substantial dredging would have been required. Declared depths are between 5 and 10m north of Bluescope. We require minimum 13m.