Last week’s announcement by Ebony Energy who plan to develop a coal to gas project at Andado station, 250 kilometres south east of Alice Springs, is a cynical attempt to garner interest with energy investors in a project that is a long way off materialising.
Ebony Energy is an unlisted exploration company that has not secured a mining lease, has not done an environmental impact statement, and has not secured native title agreements for the Perdirka Basin site.
This announcement also comes at a time when countries all around the world are abandoning coal projects as part of the transition to renewable energy to meet carbon reduction targets.
“Coal is dead,” said Jimmy Cocking, Director of the Arid Lands Environment Centre. “It’s expensive, dirty and polluting. Over the last 2 years developing countries around the world have retired 128 coal-fired generators as countries and economies transition to renewable energy. As renewables become cheaper coal no longer makes economic sense.”
“This announcement is a cynical ploy from an industry in crisis to garner investment interest and to put pressure on the Northern Territory Government. Whilst a $3 billion project with 2000 jobs sounds exciting, this project is a very long way off producing anything,” said Jimmy Cocking.
“The head of Ebony Energy is Stephen Gerlach, who was the former chair of Santos when they made the decision to build the export terminals at Gladstone. This decision has directly caused the so-called ‘east coast gas supply crisis’ – where gas is being exported rather than servicing local communities. To propose this coal-to-gas project as part of a solution to a problem that was caused by the decisions of the now head of Ebony Energy himself is a bit rich.”
“This mine will be contested. There is no social licence for new coal mines and there never will be again. We have just seen thousands of people across Australia protest against the Adani coal mine in Queensland over the weekend, and these protests will continue as citizens demand a rapid transition to renewable energy, which is now cheaper and makes more economic sense,” said Jimmy Cocking.