Renewables Not Gas for Geelong!

Geelong can be a renewable energy hub. We’ve got the infrastructure, skilled workforce and proud manufacturing heritage to position our city as the place for the rapidly growing clean energy industry.

There’s already a big battery planned for Moorabool and Geelong can be a gateway to the booming wind industry in Western Victoria.

But Viva Energy in Corio is proposing to build a gas import terminal that takes our community in the wrong direction. Fossil fuels like gas and coal are on the way out. The last thing we want is a repeat of the Ford factory where Geelong was stuck with a slowly dying industry and missed other economic opportunities.

We’re calling for renewables not gas for Geelong. The state government should reject this gas terminal proposal. Viva Energy should focus on 100% clean energy instead.

Sign the petition now to Richard Wynne, Victorian Planning Minister, and tell him to reject the gas import terminal component of Viva’s proposed energy hub

Frequently asked questions

Why this petition? For it to be fair, the Geelong community should have a say in whether we want to lock Geelong into gas or position our town for the jobs and energy sources of the future. Viva is a private company but we’re calling for a public debate about the impact this will have on the future of Geelong.

THE PROJECT

What’s the proposed ‘Energy Hub’? Viva says they want to create an Energy Hub that supports the transition to cleaner sources of power. But so far the only detailed proposal is to import gas - a dirty, polluting fuel that can be as damaging for our climate as coal.

That’s not progress. That’s old technology and it’s taking us backwards. It’s the wrong direction for Geelong.

If Viva is serious about an ‘energy transformation’, they should commit to 100% renewable energy for their Energy Hub, not polluting gas.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Isn’t gas a clean fuel? Gas is a fossil fuel, like coal. It can be even worse for the climate than coal because it leaks into the atmosphere. This leaked gas traps more warmth, overheating the planet.

Fortunately there are now better alternatives than gas. We can power our homes with cheap energy from the wind and sun. We can use clean, efficient electric heaters that are cheaper to run and better for the environment than burning gas.

What does a new import terminal mean for our bay? There are real concerns around local impacts like dredging the Bay, disturbing toxic sediments, and the impact of chlorine on the seagrasses and habitat and nearby internationally recognised Ramsar Wetlands. We’re calling on Viva Energy to be transparent and honest with the community around these impacts in their environment effects statement.

JOBS

Won’t it create jobs for Geelong? We should be doing everything we can to retain secure, local jobs in Geelong and keep advanced manufacturing skills in this country. We support Viva Energy’s commitment to remain operating in Geelong but building a gas terminal is not the answer.

The terminal will only create 50 to 70 jobs and we don’t know how many of those will be local workers.

What we do know is that there are far more jobs in the rapidly growing renewable energy sector than the declining gas sector. Viva Energy should commit to making their energy hub 100% renewable and capitalising on the jobs in solar and hydrogen industries.

GAS

Don’t we need to import gas? Australia already produces more than enough gas for its own use. But since 2015 the big energy companies have been exporting it overseas through a huge terminal at Gladstone in Queensland.

Australia is actually one of the biggest gas exporters in the world. It’s outrageous we’re considering importing gas because the big energy companies have manipulated the energy market. 

We should stop sending so much gas overseas and reserve enough for Australian use. We can also reduce gas demand by helping households switch to energy efficient electric heaters and cookers as fast as possible.

Isn’t there a gas ‘shortfall’ coming? Energy companies want to import gas because they claim there will be a ‘shortfall’ of gas in Victoria by winter 2023. This was based on forecasts for declining gas production in Bass Strait.

But two new pieces of information show the shortfall can be managed without new sources of gas supply . First, in February 2020 oil and gas producer Beach Energy announced it had discovered more than double the amount of gas it expected from a new gas field off the coast of Victoria (ref 1)

Second, the Victorian 2020 budget included a plan to replace up to 250,000 inefficient heaters (including gas heaters) with energy efficiency electric heaters. Analysis from Environment Victoria shows this program will likely reduce gas consumption in Victoria by enough to avoid a shortfall in gas use over winter during a 1-in-2-year event by 2024 and if ambition is increased it could be enough to nearly cover a 1-in-20-year.

Won’t a new gas import terminal make gas cheaper? There is no guarantee that a gas import terminal will reduce the price of gas. The reason is common sense - imported gas has additional costs from being refrigerated and compressed into a liquid, shipped thousands of kilometres, and then re-heated into a gas again. Gas is an increasingly expensive fuel, and it’s now cheaper for households to get off gas and switch to electric appliances.

ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

What do we want the government to do? The state government should reject this gas terminal proposal. All levels of government should prioritise the rapid uptake of renewable energy and the electrification and improved energy efficiency of households and businesses.