A new TV ad promoting renewable energy as a better choice for NSW’s north west than polluting coal seam gasfields has begun airing on regional television stations Prime7 and NBN.
The ad comes following community outrage over the NSW Planning Department’s decision to label the Santos Narrabri gasfield as “approvable” before referring the project to the Independent Planning Commission on Friday.
It features commentary by Narrabri renewable energy consultant Rohan Boehm and Boggabri farmer Sally Hunter.
“Having an industrialised landscape over a massive, massive area, it totally changes our townships, communities and our way of life,” Mr Boehm said of the proposed gasfield.
Mrs Hunter said Santos’ planned gasfield, which if built would drill 850 CSG wells through the recharge zone for the Great Artesian Basin, wasn’t worth the risk.
“Groundwater is the most precious item that we have and to me, it’s just not worth risking that,” she said.
In 2018, the Renewable Narrabri report found the north west of NSW had enormous renewable energy potential that, if seized, would provide much more opportunities for locals than Santos’ gasfield.
Among the report’s findings was that renewable energy generation projects would use one-twentieth of the land area compared to CSG. Given the recent announcement that insurer IAG will not cover farms with gas wells, renewable generation infrastructure is far lower risk than CSG.
The report also found solar would create four times more long-term jobs than gas without risking groundwater contamination. According to the report, by 2030, there will be just 120 local employees working on the Santos Narrabri gasfield, while there was enough renewable energy potential in the Narrabri local district alone to create 500 direct jobs.
Solar also would not produce the estimated 840,000 tonnes of contaminated salt waste the Santos gasfield would be responsible for, as identified in the NSW Planning Department’s document last week.
The 30-second ad, paid for by Lock the Gate Alliance’s supporters, will be screened in the Dubbo and Orange regions for the next two weeks.