Wind home

On this page...

Leading in renewables
Responsible governments?
Related pages

Oil exploration and drilling in the Great Australian Bight

Oil exploration involves seismic blasting aiming at obtaining echoes from geological formations hundreds or thousands of metres beneath the seabed. These blasts are, of necessity, very loud and there is evidence that the sound damages echo-location abilities, and possibly the hearing, of whales and dolphins. It has been implicated in mass stranding of whales.

Deep-sea oil drilling, as proposed in the Great Australian Bight, has resulted in disastrous oil spillages.

The world does not need more fossil fuels. The world needs to turn away from the burning of the fossil fuels that are the main causes of climate change, ocean acidification and the deaths of millions of people each year from air pollution.

In the 15 or so years up to the time of writing (February 2019) South Australia has led the nation in changing from polluting fossil fuelled electricity generation to sustainable renewable electricity generation. The development of this unethical, unnecessary and environmentally damaging industry is a terrible backward step for the state and for southern Australia.

This page was written 2019/02/24
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke) – ©
Wind home

Google search Ramblings

The images below show some of the clean energy developments that have taken place, and continue to take place, in South Australia.

The future of energy is in renewables.

Industrial solar PV power; clean solar energy
Solar winery
On a winery in the Clare Valley, 2016/01/17
A utility-scale wind farm; clean wind energy
Wind farm
Wattle Point Wind Farm, 2007/08/25
Solar thermal power; clean solar thermal energy
Solar thermal power
Sundrop Farms, Port Augusta, 2016/09/05
Domestic solar PV; clean solar energy
New solar
Armagh, 2014/02/18
Utility-scale solar PV; Bungala Solar Farm, clean solar PV, under construction
Bungalla Solar Farm
Port Augusta, 2018/05/10

South Australia is a leader in renewable energy

South Australia has become a leader in the development of renewable energy in Australia with more wind and solar developments than any other Australian state.

Having an environmentally damaging and dangerous technology such as deep-sea oil exploration happening in South Australian waters is unnecessary and a betrayal, even a crime.

As illustrated by the images on the right, South Australia's (and Australia's) energy futures could be, should be, and increasingly will be, in renewable energy. The growth industries are:

  • Utility scale solar PV;
  • Industrial rooftop solar PV;
  • Domestic rooftop solar PV;
  • Wind power.
In the near future expect to see growth in:
  • Battery energy storage;
  • Pumped hydro energy storage;
  • Production of clean hydrogen and ammonia from renewably generated electricity;
  • Solar thermal energy generation and storage.
Australia's, and the world's, energy futures are with renewably generated electricity, not with fossil fuels.

The implications of oil exploration and drilling in the Great Australian Bight

While this is of great importance to my state, South Australia, it is also important to Western Australia, and indeed modelling has suggested that a bad oil spill could even pollute the coast of Victoria.

There are several risks and harms that are connected with deep-sea oil exploration, drilling and extraction:

  1. Harm caused by seismic blasting;
  2. Possible pollution caused by oil leaks;
  3. Release of greenhouse gasses when the oil is burned;
  4. Air pollution resulting from the burning of oil.

It would be a serious backward step, ethically and environmentally, for oil exploration and drilling to take place in South Australia; it has no part in South Australia's energy future if we are to keep it clean.

Seismic blasting

Sarah Gibbens wrote a piece for the National Geographic 2018/11/30 titled "How whales and dolphins may be harmed by new seismic airgun approval". While it dealt with US President Trump's approval for seismic blasting in the North Atlantic it is also applicable to the Great Australian Bight. The article states that blasts would not be allowed when whales were within 90 km of the oil exploration ships. Will similar protection be available for the whales in the GAB? Who will track all the whales? Can everyone and everything involved by trusted?

Quoting from the National Geographic article:

"A study published last summer found the smallest members of the oceanic food chain can be killed by seismic air blasts. Zooplankton—tiny creatures like baby jellyfish, crustaceans, and larvae—were found to have declined by 64 percent within 4,000 feet [1,200 m] of the blast."

The hazards of drilling for oil in the deep ocean

Rick Steiner wrote a piece for the Guardian 2018/11/24. Mr Steiner wrote of a credible worst case discharge being twice the size of the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the coast of the USA in 2010.

The damage that can be, and has been, caused by oil spills is well covered on the Internet in articles such as the one by Mr Steiner. There is not much point in me going into detail on this page.


Environmentally responsible governments?

The South Australian Rann Labor Government (2002-2011) and the following Weatherill Government (2011-2018) have received quite a bit of credit for the state's adoption of renewable energy, and it is true that unlike a number of other state and federal governments, they didn't oppose the development of renewable energy.

But the fact that the Weatherill Government encouraged fracking in South Eastern South Australia and supported the investigation of the possibility of ISCG in the Leigh Creek area suggest that the Weatherill Government at least may have been opportunistic rather than ethical.

So far as I know both Labor and Liberals have been comfortable with oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. I believe that it would be a matter for federal government decision, outside of state government jurisdiction.

It is noteworthy that the Liberal-National coalition Marshal Government passed a bill legislating a moratorium on fracking in the South East of South Australia in October 2018. Louise Horobin wrote an article in the Border Chronicle, 2018/10/26. She wrote "Limestone Coast Protection Alliance chairperson Angus Ralton congratulated the community and local politicians for continuing to fight for legislation reform." Mr Ralton was quoted as saying:

“This is a well deserved outcome for the community that has fought so hard. Thanks must go to our local independent MP, Troy Bell for moving this Bill and to Nick McBride for getting the Libs on board. We'd also like to thank Mark Parnell and fellow Greens in the Upper House as well as SA Best whose support was crucial in getting this Bill through.”

While there can be no doubt at all that the federal Liberal-National coalition governments of Prime Ministers Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison were anti-environment and pro-coal, while the federal Labor Opposition was more environmentally responsible, it would seem that the situation in South Australia is more open to question.


Related pages

On the Internet...

Sarah Gibbens wrote a piece for the National Geographic 2018/11/30 titled "How whales and dolphins may be harmed by new seismic airgun approval". I've written a little more about this piece above.

Rick Steiner wrote a piece for the Guardian 2018/11/24. Mr Steiner wrote of a credible worst case discharge being twice the size of the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the coast of the USA in 2010.

Related pages on this site...

Australia's energy future
Base load power: the facts
Climate change
Climate change, natural disasters and what we should be doing
Coal gasification, in-situ in South Australia
Coal seam gas: an environmental disaster
End of coal
Greatest crime in history
How should Australia generate its electricity?
Hydrogen and energy; the advantages, implications and challenges
Impressive renewable energy developments in Australia
Major threatened disasters compared
Mid-North South Australia, leading the nation in renewable energy
Necessary change: embrace it or resist it?
Northern SA's renewable energy
Pumped hydro energy storage
South Australia's energy future
South Australia's successful adoption of renewables
Toward 100% renewable energy
Wind power in Australia
Why I support the local wind farm


On this page...

Hazards of drilling for oil in the deep ocean
Northern SA a leader in renewable energy
Environmentally responsible governments?
Seismic blasting

Wind home
Wind home