Unconventional Gas Facts: Renewable Energy & Power Generation

Solar Thermal Plant, Forbes, NSW, AustraliaAustralia’s electricity sector is the nation’s single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Gas power generation is promoted by the gas industry as a transition fuel, yet research is putting that myth to rest.

Rapid advances and falling costs in renewable power and storage technologies means that a secure, dependable, cost effective power system can now be achieved without gas.

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Unconventional Gas Facts: Methane Leakage and Venting

There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that the scale of methane emissions from unconventional gas mining makes it potentially more polluting than coal when burnt for electricity.

During unconventional gas production, methane is released into the atmosphere as a result of leakage from well heads, pipelines and infrastructure, and through deliberate venting and flaring of gas.  This methane leakage and venting is often referred to as fugitive emissions.

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Unconventional Gas Facts: Jobs and Economy

While gas companies spruik the promise of more jobs and economic opportunities for local communities, and significant tax and royalty revenues for governments, unfortunately the reality of unconventional gas development is very different.

Research and statistics from unconventional gas development in Australia reveal that these promises just don’t stack up and that there are a range of negative economic impacts following gasfield industrialisation.

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ANEDO Report: Coal and Gas Mining in Australia - Opportunities for National Law Reform

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Report by the Australian Network of Environmental Defender's Offices, 2012

Nine national reforms to protect communities, food security, health, water, climate and biodiversity from the impacts of unsustainable coal and unconventional gas mining in Australia:

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Risks of Coal and Unconventional Gas Mining

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The Health Effects Of Fracking: Fracking Harms Human Health October 2016 - Chesapeake PSR

Water

The National Water Commission[1] has stated that coal seam gas mining risks having 'significant, long-term and adverse impacts' on water resources, including from depressurisation and contamination of aquifers.  Longwall coal mining in the Sydney drinking water catchment has been found to have caused subsidence, cracking and draining of rivers, cliff falls, draining of swamps, and iron oxide pollution[2].  Open-cut mining dewaters aquifers, and often leaves damaging final voids that drain aquifers for centuries.

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Unconventional Gas Facts: About Coal Seam Gas

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What is coal seam gas mining?

Coal seam gas (CSG) mining is an invasive form of unconventional gas mining.  It usually involves tens of thousands of gas wells, with roads, pipelines, compressor stations, wastewater dams, and other infrastructure.  A CSG project can spread across hundreds of thousands of hectares of land.

Find out about other forms of unconventional gas mining, such as Shale and Tight gas here.

The difference between conventional and unconventional gas is the geology of the reservoirs from which they are extracted and which therefore require different extraction techniques to obtain commercial quantities of gas.

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Unconventional Gas Facts: About Shale and Tight Gas

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What is the difference between conventional and unconventional gas?

The difference between conventional and unconventional gas is the geology of the reservoirs from which they are extracted and which therefore require different extraction techniques to obtain commercial quantities of gas.

Find out more about Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and fracking here.

Conventional gas is usually found in relatively large permeable rock reservoirs. In a conventional gas deposit, once drilled, the gas can usually be extracted relatively easily via vertical wells. Conventional gas has been extracted in Australia for many decades.

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About Coal

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Coal is an unsustainable fossil fuel. Australia is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of coal.This also makes Australia responsible for a significant portion of the world's greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. 

Despite the threat that coal mining poses to our climate, waterways and productive farming land, coal exports are set to double by 2021.

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Lock the Gate Pamphlets

Lock the Gate Pamphlet: This pamphlet gives and overview of the Lock the gate movement and outlines the issues surrounding inappropriate coal and gas mining in Australia.

Call to Country Pamphlet: This is our call to country- launched in March 2013 and outlines the threats to our country from coal and unconventional gas mining and the actions we are calling on our federal government to take to protect our land, water and communities.

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Further Reading

Further detailed information collated from peer reviewed research into the environmental and health risks from fracking and unconventional gas operations can be found in these reports:

-The Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking.

-The New York State Public health review of Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development.

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