What Will Power Sydney in 5 Years, If Not Gas?

I’VE been some what dismayed by the approach of many agriculturalists to the development of a coal seam gas (CSG) industry in New South Wales. There have been many widely publicized claims that the CSG industry will pollute the air and water in particular through hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking’. Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 9.31.05 AM

Some of the noisiest objectors are on the Liverpool plains and have claimed this new extractive industry threatens their groundwater aquifers. In reality, the affect of agriculture on the aquifers in the Liverpool Plains has been inadequately monitored and is probably significant.

This is not to say that because one industry’s practices are less than transparent, it is OK for another to do environmental harm.

But I note that a new report from the NSW Chief Scientist includes comment[1]:

“Agriculture, mining and urban development have had very significant historical and current impacts. The impact of CSG alone is likely to be much smaller than the cumulative effects of these historical impacts… While CSG activities pose risks and many potential impacts, these need to be considered along with other major competing activities that are being conducted within a region.” (page 116)

The bottom line is that gas is a low-cost and reliable source of energy.

Investments by US industry in gas over recent years is likely to help make that country almost self-sufficient in energy for the foreseeable future. Contrast this with Europe’s recent investments in renewables that threaten to bankrupt the union [2].

Meanwhile NSW is facing its own energy security problems.

According to an opinion piece by Bill Collins [3] from the University of Newcastle:

“New South Wales is the only major state in Australia that does not have energy security. Its reliance on Victorian and Queensland gas, paired with the vital role gas plays in its homes and industries, have put it in a precarious position.

To put it bluntly, the state is heading for a major energy crisis in the next three or four years, and that will severely affect its future living standards and economic growth…

NSW should produce more of its own gas for energy security. But in early 2013, in response to increasing community concerns and land-use conflicts, the NSW Government introduced legislation to restrict gas exploration. Exploration is now excluded over much of the Sydney Basin, the part of the state most likely to yield CSG.”

***
References

1. Initial report on the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW. July 2013
http://www.chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-review/initial-report-july-2013

2. Europe pulls the plug of its green future
Benny Peiser, The Australian, August 10, 2013

3. Coal seam gas and New South Wales’ looming energy crisis
http://theconversation.com/coal-seam-gas-and-new-south-wales-looming-energy-crisis-16656

67 Responses to What Will Power Sydney in 5 Years, If Not Gas?

  1. cohenite August 11, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Good article. There is no doubt if the ALP/Green alliance is re-elected this nation will have blackouts, no question. Tom Quirk wrote about it in 2010:

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/06/the-looming-energy-disaster

    Just one quibble. The article doesn’t mention Thorium which is another potential energy source which was proven in test power plants in the 1970s.

  2. Robert August 11, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Damn. If only we had a superbly combustible, easily recoverable mineral that lay close to Sydney in massive quantities. Imagine if the whole Sydney-Gunnedah basin was chokkers with this solid stuff, and the whole world wanted it. Imagine we actually had it. Right there on Sydney’s doorstep.

    Imagine if, our pockets bulging with winnings from this fabulous black mineral, we punted on something like thorium, a big-paying long shot, instead of on wind, a non-paying scratching which, for reasons mystifying, has been allowed to enter the energy race.

    I’m so imaginative. I feel like Kev at an Ideas Summit. Or like Kev in the air on the way to an Ideas Summit. Anyway, must hit the frog-and-toad. Hooroo. I’m off like a dead prawn in the sun. Mate.

  3. Luke August 11, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    The Greenie aspect isn’t the point – it’s landholders vs miners. It’s agriculture versus mining. Greenies have just latched with a very dodgy and expedient alliance with landholders (rounding error in the politics IMO).

    I find it incredible that you lot are now suggesting an energy crisis when for years you’ve suggested the opposite.

    This is simply astroturfing for CSG stocks.

    Liverpool Plains has some of the best farming soils in the state and they’ll be needed long after the miners have gone. Caution is obviously required.

    But rarely I would agree with Cohenite on potential of Thorium. Assuming ya like your nukes glowing and warm.

  4. spangled drongo August 11, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Yes cohers, those NSW beaches have enough thorium for a century or two.

    In our area the “lock the gate” crowd are very active but luckily there is not much CSG around here anyway. But a place I once had out at Daandine is now gas city central.

    The gas companies out there have in some cases been buying the properties, completing the drilling, fracking and delivery infrastructure, then selling them back to farmers. That way they avoid paying any rent and the properties are just as productive.

    It’s always much easier to generate a few sound bytes to frighten people than it is to reassure frightened people particularly when you have the weight of Hollywood on your side.

    But I am surprised that farmers are not more welcoming of gas particularly when compared to the destruction of open-cut coal.

  5. Dale Stiller August 11, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    I am more familiar with the Qld situation & can only can comment about CSG in NSW by what I have read via various media.
    Jennifer I have the utmost respect for your work but I’m afraid that your first two paragraphs indicate you have yet to come to grasp with the core concerns of farmer/ grazier landowners to CSG and what impacts have been already been felt by those now living within gasfields.

    The Qld experience leaves no doubt that CSG activity will affect the availability of groundwater. The Qld Water Commission in its Surat Cumulative Management Area has predicted quite a number of landowner’s stock & irrigation bores will have significant drawdowns and already landowners are reporting problems beyond the area in which the QWC gave such predictions.

    Based on decades of Govt department management of water licencing in Qld I have by doubts that in NSW the situation would exist where as you write above, “the affect of agriculture on the aquifers in the Liverpool Plains has been inadequately monitored.”
    The irrigators of the Condamine Alluvium on the Darling Downs have had their allocations reduced by 50%. However if Arrow go ahead they will be allowed to take all the water from the Walloons. The 2010 Hillier report indicates that removal of water from the Walloons will be in effect of pulling the plug on the Condamine alluvium.

    Lastly your quote from the recent NSW Chief scientist report is selective. If readers are prepared to follow the link provided above there will also much that agriculturalists can be genuinely concerned about.

  6. John Sayers August 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    The previous Labor government handed out exploration licences that covered 75% of NSW. There were no rules set down and they had free access to all the water they needed. No industry or agriculture venture has access to free water. They also were not required to pay any royalties for the first 5 years. The participants are now appearing in ICAC.

    This year the NSW government set out some rules and regulations for the CSG industry, something that was sorely needed.

    Australia has plenty of gas, enough for 150 years – the only reason we may have a shortage is because the gas companies can make more money by selling it overseas than selling it to us – hence the new gas port at Gladstone.

    This is what Dart Energy had in mind for the Sydney basin.

    http://www.kateausburn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Dart-Energy-Map_20110407_NSW_PEL463_Sydney.jpg

    They had licences to drill in the catchment of the Warragamba dam, Sydney’s drinking water supply. They were going to drill in St Peters, an inner city suburb a few kms from the CBD.

    Unfortunately the CSG companies have been slack and irresponsible in some of their operations, especially in southern Queensland. The Condamine river is now bubbling methane due to CSG drilling, children in Tara are having ear and nose bleeds and intense migraines due to constant methane gas leaks in the area. Debbie from Tara has documented it all regularly on Alan Jones breakfast program.

    http://www.2gb.com/audioplayer/7744

    and an investigation carried out by Dr Geralyn McCarron has confirmed Debbie’s concerns.

    http://www.2gb.com/audioplayer/9175

    This is what a CSG field at Tara looks like:

    http://cdn.theglobalmail.org/cache/a6/17/a6178e4a2cfd933852dff3dc4b124482.jpg

    Korean CSG companies using aussie icon names like wombat investments are buying up prime agricultural land in the southern highlands. They lie and cheat telling property owners that their neighbours have sold etc. Iconic properties with heritage homesteads are being scooped up by these deceitful companies along with their equally deceitful lawyers.. They have no intention of continuing the agriculture, just drain the gas and piss off. NSW residents will be required to pay international prices for their own gas at 3 times the current price.

    The lock the Gate movement has been correct in calling for a moratorium on further issuing of licences and we should wait until a full enquiry into the industry and it’s impact on ground water and agricultural land has been completed.

    Just the other night I had a conversation with a piping engineer for a major oil and gas company here in the Gulf. He told me there is a gas pipe flaming methane on an island just off the coast of UAE. It has been flaming for the past 8 years, no one has bothered to tap it.

  7. jennifer August 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Dale,

    Thanks for your comment. But I would like some specific examples of harm… above and beyond that already present from draw down by agriculture which is significant in many areas.

    The Land published the following column/text from me earlier in the year. It reflects my feelings on the subject.

    I’m happy to change my opinion… but I need evidence.

    Cheers,

    ***

    Australian agriculture uses a lot more water than Australian mining. Not a little more, but an awful lot more. In fact, according to a media release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics issued in November 2012, agriculture uses 54 per cent of Australia’s total water consumption while mining uses a tiny 4 per cent.

    I don’t begrudge agriculture any of the water it uses responsibly. We are, after all, a water rich nation. That is correct, water rich. While it is fashionable to suggest otherwise, the reality is that measured in terms of available litres of water per person per day we have almost as much water as the Russian Federation and more than the United Kingdom. Indeed according to statistics from the World Resources Institute Australians have 50,913 litres per capita per day, while in a truly water scarce country like Singapore there are only 471 litres of available water per person per day.

    But it seems many farmers do begrudge the mining industry, in particular the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry, its potential impact on the water resource. Indeed the way many farmers carry on against CSG you wouldn’t know that they belong to the very same industry that, despite significant and ongoing assistance from the federal government, has only capped some 70 per cent of bores that are right now draining the Great Artesian Basin.

    Some aquifers recharge very slowly if at all, like the Great Artesian Basin. Others can be drawn down many metres in a single growing season and recharged naturally just as quickly.

    So I cringe when I see farmers supporting amendments to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, as championed by Tony Windsor MP.

    I noted in Mr Windsor’s media release of March 2013 that he is “delighted” to see restrictions on any CSG or coal mining project that could have a significant impact on water resources being subject to additional assessments by the Federal government’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee. Ha! I’m yet to see an independent government committee. I have, however, seen many government committees too keen to close down productive and sustainable agricultural and mining operations because of environmental campaigning.

    But let’s be clear, the industry that has the single biggest impact right now on the water resource, particularly aquifers, is without doubt agriculture. Should Mr Windsor’s legislation pass the Senate I won’t be surprised to see the amendments inadvertently come back to negatively impact agriculture in his electorate.

    I think the saying goes something along the lines: He who lives in a glasshouse shouldn’t throw stones.

  8. jennifer August 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    I see a comment just now from John Sayers…

    I don’t actually find this type of comment compelling… “The Condamine river is now bubbling methane due to CSG drilling, children in Tara are having ear and nose bleeds and intense migraines due to constant methane gas leaks in the area. Debbie from Tara has documented it all regularly on Alan Jones breakfast program.”

    I very much doubt it. Think about it… methane so concentrated in the atmosphere in one locality that it was affected a child’s health? It would surely quickly disperse in the atmosphere… unless the mother was holding her kid’s head over the leak?

    Has a methane cloud been detected over Queensland? I think they now monitor for such things… with very large quantities of methane reported from the Yamal Peninsula in western Siberia. But the local Nenet are managing.

  9. Luke August 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Albeit pre-existing land use for over 100 years using that water is ? – might have some relevance? Production rate of good quality cropping land is…..?

  10. jennifer August 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Luke,

    Large tracts of Queensland and NSW are potentially good quality cropping land. But how they are badly flogging some of it on the Liverpool Plains in NSW and then pointing the finger at miners… absolutely pathetic.

  11. cohenite August 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Dale and John, read this:

    http://www.awa.asn.au/uploadedFiles/Prof%20Garry%20Willgoose.pdf

    It’s an analysis of CSG by Garry Willgoose, an absolute alarmist when it comes to AGW but who is quite balanced about CSG. I think an important distinction is between the need for CSG and the mongrel companies and weak as piss governments who either don’t regulate the industry enough or cave into ginger groups against CSG all of which have been infiltrated by the green filth, and regulate the industry out of existence.

    As I said, blackouts anyone?

    Luke, I didn’t understand you; are you against or for Thorium?

  12. John Sayers August 11, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Jennifer – you can’t just throw away my post with the line – “I very much doubt it” Did you listen to the doctor’s report on the children’s condition?

    Here’s the Condamine bubbling methane, which you very much doubt.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8IWAFG61jE

  13. jennifer August 11, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Hi John

    I am not throwing away your post… it is still there. 😉

    And I am not doubting that the Condamine is bubbling methane. Nice Youtube video by the way.

    What I am doubting is that the methane is affecting children’s health. Indeed, if it is so concentrated and so toxic why wasn’t Drew Hutton wearing a mask in the video you linked to.

    Also, I note that Drew Hutton said there had been bubbling in the past – when he was a kid growing up in the area before the CSG… He said that now it is much worse.

    He says that only now it is unnatural.

    It may be worse than it used to be… what is the environmental cost?

  14. John Sayers August 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Two separate issues Jen – the river is one thing and Drew would have been there for a short time – the issue with the children is that it’s continuous in the air 24/7. A dear friend of mine is a traffic controller and has worked in the area. At 5am when they start you can see and smell the vast clouds of methane that surround the area.

    Comparing agricultural use of water and mining use is a bit of a stretch. CSG water has to be processed before it can be used for agriculture because it’s full of chemicals after the process. On the road to Casino I pass olympic size holding ponds of CSG water.

    “The water will be treated to a high standard using the reverse osmosis process at QGC’s state-of-the-art treatment plant under construction near Wandoan”

    Wandoan is just 150km north of Tara.

    ““At its peak, this project will see up to 36,500ML of treated CSG water supply delivered annually to irrigation and industrial customers.”

    http://www.enviroinfo.com.au/making-use-of-coal-seam-gas-water/#.UgcMqpJkOSo

  15. John Sayers August 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    a quick calculation says that the 36,500ML of water would allow Debbie to grow 2,800 hectares of rice @ 13ML per hectare.

  16. Jennifer marohasy August 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Can someone who knows about the properties of different gases tell us something about methane and whether it is likely to hang about as a very low lying cloud or not?

    Not sure about your point with the water, John? Much of the argument against CSG seems to be that it will wreck the groundwater aquifers? So how, and how much water is lost and to where? My point is that given the significant current impact from agriculture and in many instances capacity for recharge… What it the additional impact?

  17. cohenite August 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    CH4 is quickly broken down in the atmosphere. One method is CH4 can be oxidised by ozone which is why there is no O2 at ground level; which is a good thing because O2 will definitely knock your respiratory system around.

    Cementafriend is an expert on this sort of thing so if he is casting an eye over proceedings here he may care to give a fuller answer dealing with the retention period of CH4.

  18. John Sayers August 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Jen – they drill down through the groundwater aquifers to get to the gas. They use steel bores then create a concrete pipe to protect it from the ground water aquifer. If that concrete pipe cracks then the chemical laden water will enter the groundwater.
    The mining companies say the pipes won’t crack – experience has shown that they do.

  19. John Sayers August 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    One of the problems I see is that there are two documentaries on the subject. One is Gasland by Josh Fox which started the whole protest movement, the other is Fracknation by the makers of Not Evil but Wrong, the anti AGW movie.

    Australia has been shown Gasland on the ABC with loads of pre publicity but Fracknation (pro CSG) has never been seen here. I was disappointed with the Fracknation team as they did what Topher is doing and raised over $250,000 to make the movie, then they put the movie up on the web as a DVD to purchase.

    If you have ITunes do a search for Fracknation and there are 8 podcasts for free download with interviews with the movie makers.

    BTW _ I’ve researched further and found that Methane CH4 is an odorless gas. They add another gas to it to give it a smell for household applications.

  20. Larry Fields August 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    Comment from: Jennifer marohasy August 11th, 2013 at 2:57 pm
    “Can someone who knows about the properties of different gases tell us something about methane and whether it is likely to hang about as a very low lying cloud or not?”

    The answer to your question is no. Why not? Because CH4 has just over half the density of air, due to its low molecular weight — 16 as compared with 28 for N2, the main constituent of our troposphere (78%). If you pump CH4 into a balloon with a thin skin, the balloon will float upward.

    There’s another mechanism for rapid dispersion of leaked CH4. The low MW of CH4 promotes ordinary diffusion in all directions — not just up.

    Moreover CH4 is sparingly soluble in water. Thus CH4 is not going to dissolve to an appreciable extent in water droplets if it’s leaked on a foggy day.

  21. Luke August 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    Jen – what did you mean by “flogging”. I assume some inappropriate non-sustainable farming practices. Can you expand?

    I would have thought that the Liverpool Plains would be among the very best agricultural production areas in Australia. And they had previously been accused of “monopolising” land management R&D funds. So if they’re poor managers – how exactly?

    Cohenite – I’m pro a sensible and serious examination of Thorium as a power source.

  22. Luke August 11, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    I would have thought that production of saline water from CSG development is also a significant issue.

  23. John Sayers August 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    It’s more than just saline water Luke – the method is to decrease the pressure in the coal formation just like popping the cork on a champagne bottle and releasing the gases. They do this by pumping the water out of the coal seam.

    This water is water that has been saturating the coal seam and is therefore full of the variety of chemicals that make up coal.

    As I showed before that just one CSG field in the Wandoan district can produce 36,500ML of water.

  24. Jennifer Marohasy August 11, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    John,

    Do you consider 36 gigalitres a large quantity of water?

    I saw you mentioned Debbie earlier… Do you know how many gigalitres that irrigation area uses in an average season?

    If you see my long post above to Dale… if you want to compare quantities of water extracted by industry… agriculture loses every time. You need to use a lot of water to grow food. That is OK. But don’t begrudge the miners a bit of water… is what I say.

    Luke,

    My impressions from two visits to the Liverpool Plains over recent years follow… on both I was accompanied by government agronomists to impress upon me how good their local farming practices were and in particular hoping I would write a mean piece for The Land on CSG…

    I was lectured in the vehicle about minimum tillage agriculture, but then shown paddocks that had been heavily cultivated. Did they think that I was a SMH journalist or something? 😉

    When I protested, and then asked why the over cultivation, there was mention of the need to pupae bust after the cultivation of GM cotton. When I protested again (I did a lot of protesting on both trips) that this could not explain the extent of the over-cultivation I was told about problems with herbicide resistance.

    It was even suggested to me by one of the farmers we visited that it was better to pass three times over the paddock than apply chemical – given herbicides were bad.

    What nonsense.

    I suggested that he may have been better off using a herbicide, and that minimum tillage agriculture has a multitude of benefits made possible through the use of herbicides.

    He seemed stunned by the suggestion.

    While I heard a lot about resistance to glyphosate, there are alternative to glyphosate.

    But no practical strategy to deal with glyphosate resistance was explained to me on either trip. The government officers and farmers seemed to think that the problem would just go away. You might call that denial?

    I was also shocked to hear how much nitrogen was being applied to some of the paddocks, apparently because there is no reliable legume as part of the crop rotation on the Liverpool Plains.

    One old fellow told me that during the first thirty years that the region was cultivated the soils were so rich in organic matter that no nitrogen ever needed to be applied.

    The Liverpool plains may once have been blessed with fertile soils, but from my two brief visits I can only conclude that it is the farmers who are currently mining the earth. They are not, in my opinion, representative of the average broad acre farmer in Australia who knows better.

  25. spangled drongo August 11, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    “the method is to decrease the pressure in the coal formation just like popping the cork on a champagne bottle and releasing the gases. They do this by pumping the water out of the coal seam.”

    John, wouldn’t the gas be driven out better if the pressure was maintained, ie, the water was retained in situ?

    I realise that the high pressure fracking fluid is going to flow back to the well-head but I would think it would be reasonable to remove as little of the other water as possible so as to maintain pressure if you wanted to blow out the maximum gas.

    Just my thoughts however I don’t claim to be an expert.

  26. Robert August 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    Jen, while I don’t know what side to come down on in this fracking debate (there’s none of it round here), I find your last comment very interesting and, more than that, very refreshing.

  27. Luke August 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Jen

    So it depends on the extent of improved land management practices.

    Disruption of Helicoverpa (Heliothis) pupae by cultivation is valid decision, a cotton problem area.

    Herbicide resistance has a whole strategy http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/155148/herbicide-resistance-brochure.pdf

    But does your visit(s) give us a clear idea of the extent of land management practices e.g. minimum tillage and controlled traffic, legume rotations, cover crops etc. Reef catchments would now these numbers – does NSW Ag. Do we have any detailed survey stats? GRDC does at scale and the adoption rates are high http://www.grdc.com.au/uploads/documents/GRDC_adoption_of_no-till.pdf

    Nitrogen is applied to all broad scale agriculture – so I’m unsure why you’d be surprised. It ain’t permaculture. And the soil carbon run-down is relentless due to cropping frequency of cropping. http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/research/areas/biometric-services/outputs/2009/1029 Soil carbon from min till not happening at Liverpool Plains.

    Organic matter sounds like soil carbon !! (sarc)

    So the question is – can you name anywhere else in the summer cropping belt – Emerald to Dubbo that has better practices as a region?

  28. John Sayers August 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    I don’t claim to be an expert either SD.
    I understand they use high pressure to fracture the coal seam creating a crack around 50m long and 5 -10mm wide. The sand is used to fill the crack and keep it open. That would explain why the Tara gas field appears as multiple wells scattered over the area.

    My concern is that they are only just now building processing units to remove the chemicals from the fracking water, so what has been happening with the water until now?

    I’d be interested in Debbie’s view on how much water 36.5GL is in agricultural terms.

    I estimate it at 14,200 olympic swimming pools. (2.5ML per pool) If you allowed these olympic pools to evaporate, as they currently do, you’d end up with a mountain of salt IMO.

    Jen – regards glyphosate use – the farmers in my area spray their paddocks then direct drill soybeans. When the crop has been harvested they direct drill winter grasses for the cattle over winter using the nitrogen from the soy crop.

  29. Robert August 11, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Agriculture without legumes? Civilisation without lentils? No way. http://www.lalentillevertedupuy.com/

  30. Dale Stiller August 11, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Jennifer, @ 1.29pm & again reference to 8.20pm
    The argument of who uses the most water is a bit of a nonsense. I believe that the ABS stats you referred to would not include the dewatering in CSG production.

    I’m glad that you don’t, “begrudge agriculture any of the water it uses responsibly” but how is it using water irresponsibly especially irrigation where it is highly regulated? I don’t understand your negativity in the Land article towards uptake of the GABSI scheme. If you figures are correct it is a glass half empty outlook to say “only capped 70% of the bores in the GAB”. Try the glass half full view of only 30% to go in a project that is very expensive to implement.

    Near all farmers & graziers would not begrudge traditional mining using water.

    However they understandably begrudge the coal seam gas industry being given the right to completely dewater the coal seam with no limitations, when irrigators have had to wear reduced allocations and graziers had to outline a lot of money to cap bores.

    It was only in late 2012 that the Qld Govt changed its CSG water use policy that ‘produced water’ was no longer classified as a waste.

    They also begrudge the CSG dewatering making their bores unusable. The CSG industry response is to seal these bores so they don’t become a gas vent and to construct surface dams which are worth SFA in times of drought when surface water run dry and graziers have traditionally relied on their bores.

    Lastly Jennifer don’t be surprised if you have a heated negative response from the agricultural community to your following statement, “But let’s be clear, the industry that has the single biggest impact right now on the water resource, particularly aquifers, is without doubt agriculture”

  31. Tom Marland August 11, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    Jennifer – great debate and glad to see you are getting involved in the ‘CSG space’.

    As per Dale Stillers comment – I have been working predominantly in Qld and can only relate to the issues which are currently being experienced across the Surat Basin.

    As you could understand it is a highly complex issue with limited modelling and monitoring ( refer to report below to see the significant constraints of the modelling).

    The Queensland Water Commission undertook the ‘Surat Basin Underground Water Report’ in 2010.

    Main link is

    http://dnrm.qld.gov.au/ogia/surat-underground-water-impact-report

    The report itself is

    http://dnrm.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/31327/underground-water-impact-report.pdf

    The main findings were that across the Surat basin (600,000 square kilometres) the water use was ‘estimated’ to be:

    106,000 ML agriculture

    12,000 ML industrial

    16,000 ML urban and

    80,000 ML from stock and domestic bores.

    When I say ‘estimated’ the commission looked at the ‘maximum’ take for all agricultural licenses etc. Example a 500ML license was applied at 500ML per year. In reality an irrigator will rarely if ever use their full entitlement due to seasonal conditions, crop use, commodity prices.

    I actually queried this directly with the QWC and the reply was ‘this is the most accurate approach’.

    In terms of ‘stock and domestic’ bores I once again queried how this was calculated. A rough estimate of carrying capacity was applied using DPI carrying capacity figures and a per head/ water consumption calculation was used across the Surat basin. Once again maximum take was applied with no consideration of dams, access to permanent / semi permenant water courses or whether the property was even using the bore.

    While difficult to establish I believe the ‘estimated’ extractions are inflated for agricultural and stock and domestic use.

    The report states:

    Table 5-1 shows that there are some 21,200 water bores within the CMA. Less than three per cent of these are artesian, which are mostly S&D bores in the southwest part of the CMA. Total water extraction is about 215,000 ML/year of which about 85,000 ML/year is from the GAB formations and 130,000 ML/year is from other aquifers.

    The ‘estimated’ water take for CSG use was derived from the four major CSG projects in the Surat basin (QCLNG – QGC, APLNG – Origin, GLNG – Santos, and Arrow LNG. This was from material provided through their EIS processes.

    The QWC estimated an average of 95,000 ML average per year water take from existing CSG projects.

    This is essentially half times the ‘inflated’ current extraction.

    This is on top of already stressed systems. Example, in the condamine alluviums irrigators voluntarily cut their allocations by 50%. Now CSG is increasing the take in the same resource areas.

    The QLD gov at the time to facilitate CSG water extraction introduced a whole new chapter 3 of the water act. Essentially water taken for a CSG project is treated as a by-product as part of the CSG extraction process. This take isn’t metered and isn’t paid for other than the actual royalties paid on the extraction of gas.

    The new chapter 3 of the water act developed a ‘cumulative management area’ which looks to manage the cumulative impacts of all the projects in the CMA. Currently only the Surat Basin is under a CMA but eventually the Bowen, Moreton and Galilee will follow suit.

    So the ‘estimated’ impacts of an additional 95,000ML per year (average) is that 95 private bores will be adversely affected in the first 3 years and 500 over the life of the CSG projects (approx 30 years).

    Predicted standing water height loss is up to 150 meters in some acquirers.

    I could stagger on for hours about the inequities of one industry being granted the right to essentially steal water from another but I will make three main points

    1. The process for modelling and monitoring CSG water use is an ‘adaptive management process’. The ground truthings hasn’t been done and studies of what the impacts will be havnt been done. Basically it is a suck it and see process or letting a horse bolt and trying to catch it later.

    2. The model is exactly that – a model. Like those highly accurate climate models I have little faith. The source data provided for CSG water use has been provided by the CSG companies. That is also on ‘approvals’ for 12 000 wells. Industry estimates anywhere between 40,000 to 60,000 wells in the surat basin alone.

    3. The CMA is across 600,000 square kilometres and has 12 discrete water acquirers. I have worked on coal mine acquifer dewatering modellings over an area of 100 square kilometres and was unable to find a hydrologist who could categorically say whether a water bore within 1 km of a mine site would be affected due to natural variability and lack of recorded data. 600,000 square kilometres is frightening.

    In terms of other issues raised:

    Methane causing health impacts

    Once again very difficult to prove. Anecdotally – I have a client who has a pipeline gas vent within 100 meters of their house. When gas is vented – they experience metallic tastes in their mouth, head aches, nausea and nose bleeds. I cant find a doctor who can say categorically that these symptoms are caused from gas.

    Why they dewater the seams

    The whole process of CSG is depressurising the coal seam. Removing the water essentially makes the faults in the coal seam open up and the gas flows. CSG extraction is two stage – first stage is to remove water and second stage is extract the gas. The two processes have two completely different well heads and pumps. Obviously the first stage is the messiest. However, in the second stage the seams need to be ‘stimulated’ or traced to further allow the gas to flow.

    Salt

    Jennifer you may be interested to have a look at APLNGs EIS

    http://www.aplng.com.au/environment/our-environmental-impact-statement

    APLNG estimate that over the life of the project they will produce 2,000,000 tonnes of salt….

    I am not anti CSG – in fact I see the industry as having some major benefits to regional Australia. But with a resource as important as water I feel that the current system is inadequate and the current regulatory model doesn’t provide the protections required.

    I am currently living in Roma. If you would like a better insight into what is happening on the ground in Qld I would be more than willing to take you on a tour to see what some of the practical issues landholders are facing. If you are interested Email me on dtmarland@hotmail.com

  32. Jennifer marohasy August 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    Dale

    Are you seriously suggesting that agriculture does not have a big impact on aquifers or the water resource? Much bigger than mining and urban. It has a huge impact and for the most part that impact is manageable and aquifers recharge.

    You can also find lots of chemical traces of an agricultural impact in groundwater, but again within acceptable limits.

    But get the EPBC legislation involved, as many anti-csg advocates suggest, and all of a sudden, there will be a no impact expectation.

    And please, i can cope with heated negative responses… But I pay more attention to evidence and facts… And so should you. 😉

  33. Jennifer Marohasy August 11, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Tom.

    We were posting at the same time. Thanks for your comments. I’m not surprised the modelling work is inadequate.

    I would be interested in more info on how water use is audited officially and nationally.

  34. Dale Stiller August 11, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    John @ 2.21 & 7.41pm; also reply by Jennifer @ 8.20pm

    I have fought that many battles against the radical end of the green movement that I am wary of enviro sites as you linked to John. It quotes Jeff Seeney in saying that 36 500ML annually will be dropped into the Glebe weir via the 120 km pipeline that Murphy Pipe & Civil are constructing right now from QGC’s Woleebee gasfield.

    Now that is an guestimation of the amount of the treated water. The saline water that the RO (reverse osmosis) plant also produces will go in another pipeline back south to QGC’s Kenya gasfield in that Chinchilla, Condamine, Tara triangle. The CSG industry & govt continue to promote the use of the very inefficient RO filtration which I’m assured by an engineer with extensive experience with water projects as capable at the very best of 60% efficiency. RO may be good as a sea water desalination plant but the cations in CSG water are a different matter entirely.

    So 36.5 thou is a guess of the treated annual output of one small area in the vastness of the proposed gas development. This figure doesn’t mean all that much.

    The CSG industry will dewater all so that the gas will move. How much will vary from field to field.

  35. John Sayers August 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    Dale, according to the Office of Water, NSW “the Surat Basin in Queensland production is around 7 to 300 ML of water per year for each gas well.”

    http://www.water.nsw.gov.au/Water-management/Groundwater/Water-and-coal-seam-gas/Managing-coal-seam-gas-produced-water/default.aspx

    lets take the halfway figure of 150ML/year for each well.

    According to Tom Marland there will be 40,000 – 60,000 wells, that’s 6,000GL – 9,000GL and one damn high mountain of salt to get rid of.

  36. John Sayers August 12, 2013 at 3:31 am #

    We currently produce 44.99 billion cu m of natural gas. We consume 27.56 billion cu m and we export 25.53 billion cu m.
    We have proven reserves of 788.6 billion cu m so at current consumption we have a known 28 years supply.

    (source CIA Fact Book)

    With relation to the Question “What will power Sydney in 5 years of not gas” the answer is that which has always powered Sydney – Coal – we have 300 years supply.

    Australia has a base load demand of 18GW of power. At 4am we still demand 18GW to power our hospitals, streetlights, factories, trains etc. It peaks around 25GW at 6am- 9am when we all get up and demand on the trains increases and we cook breakfast etc then settles down during the day to 20 -22GW then peaks again at 6pm to 25GW yet again.

    The 18GW is supplied by a bank of coal fired power stations across the country. We have well in excess of 18GW of coal power capacity (44GW) but they also have to be shutdown, cleaned and maintained at some time but there is always 18GW purring away. They actually have around 20GW as constant base load. When demand drops as we all sleep our off peak power switches on keeping demand on the base load.

    Now that we have a national grid in eastern Australia from Cairns to Hobart not including WA and NT. The additional GW at peak times can be supplied either by Hydro or Gas as both these systems can be turned on and off…… unlike Coal which can’t.

    The Snowy can add 3.7GW of hydro and Tassi adds another 2.3GW of Hydro via the Bass strait cable. The remainder is provided by natural gas power stations that can be turned on and off at demand times.

    A modern supercritical air cooled coal power station built on a coal field at Casino, or Kyogle or up at Warwick or Grafton could provide a constant 2GW 24/7. Why not build 4 of them and close down the old worn out ones in the hunter. Build new ones on the vast brown coal seams in the LaTrobe valley in Victoria.

    If we want more Gas then the shale deposits under the Woomera testing site appears to be the go. They estimate there’s the equivalent of Saudi Arabia under there.

    My Point is why screw up prime agricultural land for a short term gain, where the only benefactors are Korean and Chinese CSG companies who take all the profits offshore and leave us with a chain of exhausted concrete drill heads.

  37. Robert August 12, 2013 at 6:24 am #

    My love of the legume is very great. How can something so delectable also be an interim crop which helps the soil? There are those volcanic parts of France where the lentil has been grown for centuries without fertiliser. But if one were to use a dash of fertiliser and some herbicide and spare the soil a lot of moisture and structure loss, that would be a fine thing…

    Ah, but I do love coal. I suppose there is good money to be made with fracking, and money is a fine thing…but what’s the rush? Gas and lignite are okay, but lack the romance of the luscious black coal which litters the Sydney basin. It’s odd that we debate energy scarcity in the midst of energy super-abundance. More than odd. Bizarre.

  38. spangled drongo August 12, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    A good philosophy Robert but when we have short term masters who all want to spend, spend, spend to satisfy the born entitled and employ an army of bureaucrats to do it, it’s all about wringing the last drop.

    BTW, even the lowly wattle does a similar job to the legume [and feeds the birds].

  39. Jennifer Marohasy August 12, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Robert

    I need to work out how to get ‘like’ buttons for the comments at this blog… so I can like your comments.

  40. Debbie August 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Yes Jen,
    Go for that like button. . . Robert gets my like too.
    The main issue for farmers is that there appears to be some double standards operating.
    The people on the Liverpool Plains are highly vulnerable to the implementation of poor policy. They are also going to be ‘judged’ by people who don’t really understand what they do or why they do it.
    Jen is correct that agriculture uses the most water. . . but everyone could do well to remember that the ‘end user’ is actually the ‘consumer’. . . not the producers/farmers.
    That water is used to grow food & fibre for consumers. It also earns good export dollars and contributes to our high standard of living in Australia via a better than average GDP.
    As with our coal deposits. . . there is not a chronic or alarming shortage of water. . . it is a chronic shortage of practical, long term thinking and/or policy.
    The ‘precautionary principle’ is being misused and abused.

  41. Kevin August 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Hi Jen .. you should have a read of some of the Beyond Zero Emissions material …
    and look on the City of Sydney website … or talk with Allan Jones there …

    Sydney is planning non-reliance on coal fired power .. very soon !

  42. handjive August 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    Yep. I’m with robert and his love of coal. Like button clicked here.

    I am bemused reading this thread because if the environmentalists never began their war on coal, the ad hoc panic race for an immediate energy source to fill the gap until the woefully inadequate “renewables” are ready would not exist.

    400ppm – co2 UPDATE!

    . Coldest summer on record at the North Pole
    . Highest August Arctic ice extent since 2006
    . Record high August Antarctic ice extent
    . No major hurricane strikes for eight years
    . Slowest tornado season on record
    . No global warming for 17 years
    . Second slowest fire season on record
    . Four of the five snowiest northern hemisphere winters have occurred since 2008

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/400-ppm-co2-update/

  43. jennifer August 12, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Handjive,

    I rarely watch the TV news, but did spend this evening with my elderly father and watched the Channel 7 Qld news with him… and the fellow said in the weather report, that this year was on tract to be… wait for it… the hottest year on record.

    John Sayers,

    You have presented some good solid statistics. Thanks.

    And I guess you are making the point with your comment that… “We currently produce 44.99 billion cu m of natural gas. We consume 27.56 billion cu m and we export 25.53 billion cu m.”… that Sydney can use some of this? It sure can, it can import the gas from Queensland where I think about 95 percent of it is produced?

    I guess the point could also be made that we produce a lot more food than we need… like with the gas we tend to export it. I would be interested in the stats on “excess” food production by this lucky country.

  44. cohenite August 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    John, where did you get the stats about Australia’s CSG reserves; I’m finding 3,825 billion cu m not 788.6 billion cu m?

  45. Bruce Robertson August 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Dear Jennifer,
    I am dismayed at the argument that NSW will have to “import” gas.
    To the best of my knowledge NSW has NEVER imported gas nor will it for the foreseeable future.
    Importation involves the transport of a commodity across a national border.
    We live in Australia. So what if NSW gets its gas from SA, Qld or the Bass Strait.
    Australia is the second largest EXPORTER of gas in the world.
    It will soon be the largest EXPORTER of gas in the world.
    All this talk of a gas shortage is not based in fact.
    The price of gas will rise to international parity because we are building 3 export gas terminals at Gladstone and no domestic gas reservation policy.
    The consumer will face higher prices regardless of development of a NSW gas industry.
    Any contribution from the NSW gas industry will have at most a marginal impact on the world price of gas.
    Some economic rigour needs to be added to the emotive language used by the CSG industry to scare the public into believing that CSG has to be developed at all cost.

  46. John Sayers August 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Cohenite – from the CIA factbook, great resource if you quickly need to know something about a country.

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/as.html

    Jennifer – we get our Gas from the Bass Strait.

    http://www.exxonmobil.com/Australia-English/PA/about_what_gipps_bs.aspx

    The head of Exxonmobil has stated that we have reserves of gas that can keep us going for over 100 years. Alan Jones claims the suggestion we are running out of gas is total BS to drive the demand for CSG.

    The Queensland gas is purely for export via Curtis Island near you at Rocky.

    We actually export oil! 250,000 bbl/day. we are the 29th highest oil exporter. It’s high grade oil, too good to burn in automobiles.

    BTW did you read that a further 2 reports have blamed the flooding on the fish kill and NOT the dredging.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/floods-not-dredging-main-culprit-in-fish-catastrophe/story-fn59niix-1226690476115

  47. John Sayers August 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    Sorry – I meant to add – yes Cohenite – I think your figure is more like it, and as I said, the head of Exxonmobil confirms it.

  48. John Sayers August 12, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    May I reprint a post by MemoryVault over at Joanne’s site that I believe is very pertinent to this discussion. It refers to the energy superabundance that Robert mentioned.

    German industry (think GE, Siemens, Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW) are quietly moving out of Germany due to both the price and increasing unreliability of their electricity supply. They are currently moving some operations to China, as it is now a large, and growing market.

    Trouble is, their highly skilled workforce don’t particularly want to relocate to China (not “western” enough), and the Chinese, while welcoming them as temporary workers, is not keen on major resettlement of foreigners in their country.

    Australia, on the other hand, has abundant supplies of coking coal and iron ore, and with German expertise and technology, could quickly be making some of the finest steel in the world. We have plenty of room for heavy industry, and all the coal needed to power it. We are desperately short of skilled labour. We are ideally placed to service the emerging markets, not only of China, but the whole of SE Asia.

    The Chinese are awash with cash, and looking for diversified investment opportunities. They like Australia for investment because, comparatively speaking, we are a stable country. The Chinese and the Germans have enjoyed a close working relationship for decades. Australia already has a sizable, integrated population of German descent. Many Germans have reasonable English skills.

    One could speculate that there just might be an opportunity or two buried in there.

    .
    On the other hand, I suppose it’s easier to simply go on shipping dirt to China for pennies, slinging GM a couple of hundred million every year or two, so we can continue pretending we have a manufacturing industry, and bringing in boatloads of welfare recipients warring religious fanatics asylum seekers, and kid ourselves that they will all be skilled tradespeople and engineers in five years time.

  49. cohenite August 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Very good post by MV; the first part about giving away our resources for a song is a gross betrayal by the political class in this country; the second part about the warring religious fanatics is also a gross betrayal and I suspect, given what is happening in many European nations, the worst betrayal.

  50. Neville August 13, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    I’ve been offline again, but Telstra have at long last fixed the problem. A lot of waffle here because Sydney can be powered into the future for hundreds of years by using coal. DUH?

    You have a choice of power from Vic or coal power from NSW. Easily fixed. If it’s good enough for the barking mad green Germans to use brown coal again it should be a no brainer for us here in OZ. Geeeezzzz.

  51. Debbie August 13, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Yes we do produce a lot more food than we need.
    That’s why the current Govt have coined the ‘foodbowl of Asia’ ideas and have spent much time and money on the ‘National Food Plan’ . . . . amusingly and paradoxically at the same time as the MDBP.
    The research for the NFP has some of the figs you want re export.

  52. Jennifer Marohasy August 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi John Sayers

    Thanks for your continued input on this subject.

    But point of clarification… when you say “we” do you mean Sydney/NSW?

    The point that I thought I had already made is that Queensland and other states have apparently sorted and contracted energy supplies for their cities for the short and medium term, but according to various reports, including the quote from Bill Collins in the body of my post above, NSW hasn’t.

    I haven’t done much of my own research on this issue, but I was invited during the height of the last drought to advise on potential sources of water for a coal fired power station and at that time was briefed on how vulnerable Sydney was… in terms of energy supply. At that time it was very dependent on coal.

  53. davefromweewaa August 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Hi Jennifer,
    Is it possible that you were on an “Organic*” farm when told that three cultivations were better than using herbicide? If that’s the case it may not be a typical example of Liverpool Plains farming practise. The farms that I’ve seen from the highway over many years definitely use herbicides and rotate legumes, cereals and summer crops.
    Having said that I think it is a mistake to view all cultivation as bad. It is still a useful tool in some circumstances.
    *I’ve often wondered how the word organic was hi-jacked to its current usage, as I’ve never seen inorganic farm produce.

  54. Neville August 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    It’s just so difficult to keep up these days. SARC . If you have a scrap of common sense you would just keep using coal for Sydney’s future energy use or gas or do a deal with Vic to bring in your energy needs from the Latrobe valley.

    If you’re a mad green govt you could use all sorts of idiotic renewables like solar, wind, wave, hot rocks etc. Costs heaps more than coal or gas and totally unreliable as well.
    Or you could copy the latest pommy lunacy and import wood pellets from Nth America to convert to electricity.
    But I ask once again, why not use coal or gas for the next few hundreed years? Geezzz real hard to understand isn’t it?

  55. John Sayers August 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Jen – sorry for the confusion.

    The modern coal fired power station does not need access to major supplies of water – I offered Kogan Creek as an example as it uses fans to cool the water which is then recycled. if you check it out on Google Earth you will see it’s not near a major river and it doesn’t have those huge cooling towers. There is a water supply but it’s just a standard dam not a pump from a river.

    http://www.csenergy.com.au/content-(42)-kogan-creek.htm

    The claim NSW is running out of gas is disputed by the Head of Exxonmobil who claims we have many years supply of gas in Bass Strait and this is natural trapped gas above oil wells as opposed to multiple drilled fracked CSG.

    They claim the demand for gas will increase in NSW as more electricity is produced by gas than coal – this is purely due to the Carbon Tax! Because coal produces more CO2 than Gas it’s more expensive but if the Coalition drops the carbon tax, as they promise they will, coal will become competitive once again and we have lots of coal. Less than 10% of our current gas consumption is for electricity production. Most of the consumption is Industrial use.

    The problem is that the State governments in NSW and Queensland have their eye on the money they can make out of CSG and as Paul Keating said – don’t stand between a State government and a bucket of money.

    Electricity from Gas is more expansive than from Coal because it’s privately owned and it’s only called on when demand rises above the base load of coal + hydro. South Australia has the most wind power yet pays the highest price for electricity. The reason is that the government closed down one of it’s coal fired power stations because they had wind, but wind is so unreliable they keep on having to call on gas to keep up the supply and because gas is more expensive the South Australians end up paying a higher price for their power. It’s ironic isn’t it.

    This is the price we pay for the damn carbon tax.

  56. Debbie August 13, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Yes good point Davefromweewaa,
    It is neccesary to use herbicides to minimise cultivation. ‘Organic farming’ still requires much more cultivation. Over cultivation is not good for long term soil health.
    You are also correct that cultivation still has a role in soil management and yield.
    My understanding is that the soils are deep and pliable in the Liverpool Plains which would mean they are less likely to suffer from compaction as soils in our area can.. . .But our soils are excellent for Summer irrigation cropping as they do not leak like those deeper soils.
    Because we now have planting equipment that can handle trash there is even less need to cultivate as often.

  57. Beth Cooper August 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Re comparative costs of electricity from coal and other sources, I came across
    this British Report by Ruth Lea 2012. Excluding carbon costs coal fired power
    stations are the cheapest form of electricity generation pp 11/19 fer details.
    http://www.civitas.org.uk/economy/electricitycosts2012.pdf

  58. Robert August 13, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    A good sledging link on wind, serf. I do loathe wind turbines, even those useful old pumping things that go-clankety clank down along the Macleay River. In Spain, it’s not so much the stupid bird-mincers as the cabling, which is never out of sight, no matter where you go. Actually, I hate the stupid mincers too. I hate it all. Gawd what expensive, ubiquitous, ugly, inefficient, fetishistic, medieval junk. And that’s on the plus side.

    On a happy note, just think of all that gorgeous, gooey black coal right on Sydney’s doorstep. Think of the marvellous Lapsang Soochong aroma as it’s conveyed to the furnaces.

    The authentic Sydney Basin Black. Yum!

  59. Johnathan Wilkes August 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Neville
    do a deal with Vic to bring in your energy needs from the Latrobe valley.

    forget it Neville, without importing hydro from Tassy we’d be stuffed, and the Snowy is running full blast most of the time.

    We desperately need a new brown coal power station but it’s not gonna happen.

  60. davefromweewaa August 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    Debbie,
    The Liverpool plains soils, or more precisely the Breeza plain soil is so good you could grow babies in it! It’s probably not that much better the best alluvial soils around most of the inland floodplains but it has the advantage of a kinder climate and better rainfall than most.
    When you think about it, cultivation has served mankind very well for several thousand years so the idea that people who don’t cultivate “know better” should be treated with a modicum of caution.
    Regarding coal seam gas drilling, I’m fearful that it may not be able to be done safely. I also fear that Governments of either stripe are so keen for the royalties that it will be done regardless.
    The worst thing about it is the ownership issue or property right. I think what we need is Jed Clampett, Beverly Hillbilly style freehold title! That way instead of having no say, the landholder would have all the say on where and how it’s done.

  61. Beth Cooper August 13, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Say, Robert,

    Ol’ King Coal. )

    Beth the serf.

  62. John Sayers August 13, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    We are one of the most ancient continents on the planet – our soils are old and depleted.

    I heard an Indian farmer from the Punjab asked if he was interesting in farming in Australia. He replied “Why would I do that when I can plant 3 crops per year in the Punjab without fertiliser”

    The Punjab is the floodplain of the Himalaya – similar to the Canterbury Plains in NZ.

  63. Neville August 14, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    JW you’ve got it in one. We’ve got heaps of coal and all we need is more CF power stns to use it.
    Whether that’s in Vic or NSW, both states need new stns to be built yesterday and sooner if possible.
    Just another reason to vote properly ( no donkeys please) and preference the Coalition before Labor and the Greens.
    I’ve been saying that we should be building new CF stns on this blog for years, so I thought that was obviously understood in my comments above?
    But let’s learn by the failure of the mad German experiment via renewables?????? like solar and wind. After wasting 100s of billions on this idiocy for decades they are now building new brown coal fired stns to try and mend a very messy grid.

    Let’s not repeat this lunacy, but just build new CF stns straight away. I mean this has to be as simple as it gets.
    But the first step to make a start is on the 7th of Sept. Make sure we don’t vote for loonies who want to tax the benificial co2.

  64. Robert August 14, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Maybe you can’t sell fridges to eskimos. But if you wanted to try, surely selling a Northern European country on a massive solar program would be good practice before you headed up into Nunavut with your Frigidaires.

  65. John Sayers August 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Well, like selling fridges to eskimos you would have to tell fibs.

    There is a poster of a picture of a solar thermal power station doing the rounds that claims that Germany’s solar system produced 22GW of power, equal to 20 nuclear power stations at maximum capacity. All the green lefties “liked” it on facebook saying, ‘way to go’, ‘why don’t we do this’, ‘our government is so far behind the rest of the world’

    The fact was that on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th of May 2012 at 12pm for one hour Germany’s 34GW capacity highly subsidised solar system produced it’s highest ever output of 22GW! They also didn’t tell you that the picture was of a Spanish solar thermal power station.

    Germany has since announced it will cease to subsidise solar power.

    Greenies don’t want to know the facts, just the fantasy.

  66. jennifer August 20, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    I haven’t read this, but am just filing it here… http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/19/fracks-figures-big-questions-hydraulic-fracturing

  67. Larry Fields September 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Comment from: jennifer August 20th, 2013 at 9:04 pm
    “I haven’t read this, but am just filing it here…”

    Thanks for the link. I did read it. John Vidal is the author.

    First impressions … The article covered some of the well-publicized bases. But in my book, it qualified as journalistic pseudo-objectivity. It has an anti-fracking bias that may not be apparent to the casual reader. Here are two examples.

    “‘Proving’ water contamination by fracking is next to impossible because there are always natural pollutants, but the possibility exists and in Britain, where the geology is so varied, the water companies and Environment Agency must be wary.”

    Apparently, John Vidal, the author, has never heard of analytical chemistry. Yes, there are environmental pollutants in the fracking fluid. And yes, there are pollutants from other sources. And if one compare the two lists, there may even be some overlap. However fracking fluid contains some pollutants that are unlikely to come from other sources.

    Flash news! These pollutants can be measured qualitatively and quantitatively. One such pollutant is Cobalt-60, which can be recognized by its radioactive signature.

    *snip*

    “Will it lead to cheaper fuel bills?

    “It has done so in the US, but while Cameron and the industry argue that it could do the same in the UK, there is no evidence that it will.”

    Hey, John! Have you ever taken Econ 101? Can you say, “supply and demand?” Fracking in Britain will increase the supply of natural gas. If demand is constant, then fuel bills will less than they’d be without natural gas from fracking. Duh!

Website by 46digital