Today's news that Beach Energy will be given $6m of taxpayers' money to explore for gas in the South East of SA, shows that the State Government is more interested in propping up the fossil fuel economy than promoting renewable energy or reducing carbon emissions, according to Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.
"When the Government announced its $550 million energy package this week, we applauded the attention given to storage and new renewable generation, but strongly opposed an unnecessary and polluting new gas-fired power station. We also opposed the $24 million in taxpayer subsidies to big oil and gas companies.
"Despite there only being a 32% chance of finding commercial gas, there is a 100% certainty that the $6 million could have been better spent to help kickstart new renewable generation or storage, both of which are long term solutions to SA's energy mix.
"If the answer is burning more fossil fuels, then we're asking the wrong question! Coal is dying, gas is not far behind and the future will be renewable. So stop wasting money on last century's technology for this century's solutions.
"Beach Energy says that it won't be fracking for gas, however they will still be generating vast quantities of waste water, worsening climate change and harming the reputation of the local agricultural economy.
"Evidence before the Parliamentary Inquiry into gas in the South East last year showed that the industry does not have a social licence to operate. Whether fracked or not, many in the South East are equally opposed to any form of gas extraction on valuable agricultural land. The new wells will pass through and risk contaminating groundwater, as will the wastewater brought back to the surface.
"Whilst Beach might be happy to tell the Stock Exchange about its plans, it has also been battling to prevent the South East community from finding out where their gas waste water is being disposed of. Beach claims that their privacy and that of their commercial partners outweighs the public's right to know where the polluted wastewater is disposed of. This dispute is currently before the SA Ombudsman," concluded Mr Parnell.