New Opposition to Carbon Capture & Storage Project by Tracey Anton

Could this website be the first community website in Australia challenging the viability of storing captured emissions from industry and storing the carbon dioxide (CO2) in offshore geological formations?

Golden Beach on the iconic Ninety Mile Beach is one of the unluckiest small towns in Victoria as its nearshore area, 4-7km offshore, has been chosen by CarbonNet as the site to put a dint in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions  (GHG) sometime in the future. The irony is that the viability of carbon capture and storage (CCS) is entirely dependent on creating new coal industries in Latrobe Valley and capturing the emissions to support the cost of transporting the near pure CO2 via pipeline 100km east to Golden Beach. At an onshore site the CO2 would then be compressed into a supercritical liquid ready for injection offshore.

This small community which formed the Ninety Mile Beach Action Group Against Carbon Storage to fight the proposed plans started with a Facebook page and recently launched their much anticipated website with the shortened website name,

Extensive study has gone into research to ensure the website is based on facts with graphics and referenced links provided utilising industry’s own risk information. The comment webpages on Environment & Risks include – CO2 Leakage, CO2 Pipeline Failure, Fate of Dunes & Legal Liability Risks.

A small group from the committee met on Thursday 19th August with the Dept of Economic Development Jobs & Transport (DEDJTR) and CarbonNet project director, Ian Filby, and asked for feedback on the website specifically querying if any of the technical information was incorrect which it wasn’t. The beauty of this website is that all the information is explained and/or exposed on one site. Apart from highlighting the extensive risks involved, there is also a lot of information that is neutral serving to inform and educate those with little or no knowledge of CCS.

Of particular interest to taxpayers is the CEFC webpage which notes the current bill before Federal Lower House to allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in Carbon Storage. The Action Group committee have a current petition circulating that this not be mandated as all the risks would shift to the Australian public. As it stands, the premise is that once CO2 is injected it will be safety stored for tens of thousands of years but the monitoring burden and any other complications are transferred to the people. The whole CCS process is a legal liability nightmare with a cursory attempt of utilising our existing petroleum legislation as one of the regulatory models to accommodate CCS.

Whilst the website has some great pages, there are still more webpages to come linking the proposed Kawasaki Coal to Hydrogen pilot plant project with AGL’s LoyYang A to Hastings Westernport Group who are fighting the proposed export terminal of liquid hydrogen to Japan. The aim of the website is to ensure accountability and transparency while keeping the community updated.