A Submission on the Draft Energy White Paper

Gregory John Olsen

I am deeply disturbed that on page 15 of the Federal Government’s Draft Energy White Paper 2011erroneous and misleading statements are made regarding gas, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies and renewable energy.

Here is the paragraph in question:

“Similarly, much of Australia’s energy infrastructure is locked in and will only be transformed over time, but we are fortunate in having gas, carbon capture and storage, and renewable options to aid us in the transition to a cleaner future. All credible analysis supports the need for a portfolio approach drawing on the most effective options across the economy. Suggestions that Australia should aggressively move exclusively to one or two renewable energy technologies to supply its energy are neither feasible nor realistic.

Firstly, the claim that “we are fortunate in having gas ……. to aid us in the transition to a cleaner future” is misleading as there is NO irrefutable evidence that gas, especially the coal seam gas that is being heavily sought in Queensland and NSW, is much cleaner, if at all cleaner, that coal when burnt for the production of electricity. An article in the Climate Spectator of November 4, 2011, states that a recent report by Worley Parsons , commissioned by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, “finds that the life-cycle emissions of CSG may be higher than those of black coal used in the most modern coal plants currently being built in China”.

Secondly, CCS is NOT currently a commercially viable technology. Indeed of the seven large scale integrated CCS projects referred to in the December 2011 report of the GLOBAL CCS INSITUTE, two European projects have been cancelled. Of the other five, the earliest one will come on line in the USA in 2012 and the last, also in the USA, in 2017.

Thirdly, the claim that “Suggestions that Australia should aggressively move exclusively to one or two renewable energy technologies to supply its energy are neither feasible nor realistic” is denying the fact that commercially viable concentrated solar thermal and wind power plants are operating around the world NOW!! Indeed, greenhouse gas emission free, base load, concentrated solar thermal power stations are a reality in Spain and the USA whereas CCS is not and gas is arguably no cleaner than coal, two important planks in the Governments ‘clean energy future’ strategy. It appears that the authors of the Draft Energy White Paper have not heard of nor read Beyond Zero Emission’s “Zero Carbon Australia Report”, released in June, 2010, that details how Australia can become self sufficient in energy production from 100% renewable sources in a decade or so. BZE shows that this clean energy future is BOTH feasible and realistic.

In conclusion, I implore the Government to show vision and daring to stop our dependency on burning polluting fossil fuels to fulfill our energy needs. There IS another way. That way is 100% renewable energy from sources such as concentrated solar thermal, small scale solar, geothermal, wind, tides and waves. These technologies will give us energy security and protect us from the price rises that will inevitably occur as fossil fuels become exhausted over the next decades.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to make a submission to the Draft Energy White Paper.


I am a concerned world citizen who wishes a sustainable existence for all life forms on our wonderful planet. I also compose and play music: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=840122, promote the Sustainability Street Approach, Transition and Permaculture principles as well as a progressive Australia exemplified by GetUp!: http://www.getup.org.au/
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