Council seeks environmental effects statement for hydrogen trial

Published on 13 March 2020

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Following the Mornington Peninsula Shire’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in August 2019, Council has sought a guarantee from state and federal government departments that an Environmental Effects Statement be prepared for the Kawasaki Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) trial.

The trial will include a terminal to convert hydrogen gas — made from brown coal sourced from the Loy Yang power station — into liquefied hydrogen for transport to Japan via a purpose-built marine carrier. The carrier will be docked at the Port of Hastings.

A Notice of Motion (NOM) outlining Council’s request was moved by Cr Simon Brooks, seconded by Cr Kate Roper, and carried unanimously at the Tuesday 25 February meeting. The NOM outlined:

1.        That the Mornington Peninsula Shire requests the appropriate state and federal government departments to request the Kawasaki Hydrogen Trial (HESC project) factors-in the total environmental and economic impacts of the emissions produced through the gasification of brown coal to produce hydrogen gas and then liquified hydrogen, including the processes to capture, transport, sequester and monitor these emissions at the commercial phase.

2.        That this expectation/position is announced publicly as a statement aligned with our declaration of a Climate Emergency.

3.        That Mornington Peninsula Shire expects these environmental and economic factors are measured in a transparent and holistic method and publicly reported.

4.        That before any decision is made on whether to continue to the commercial phase of the project, Council requests an Environment Effects Statement be prepared for the project.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Sam Hearn said Council has received significant public concern relating to the trial and the potential impacts to the local environment.

“Concerns raised with Council include carbon capture and storage and the impacts to the environment, the Port of Hastings and the local community. We continue to respond to the expectation our community has for us to demonstrate visionary leadership in protecting our environment for future generations”.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Seawinds Ward Councillor Simon Brooks said the Notice of Motion was designed to shine a light on this project to ensure the community, and council had access to all the facts.

“We have set a clear and unambiguous expectation that this project and technology must address key aspects including Environmental, Technological and Economic,” he said.

“By declaring a Climate Emergency, Council is now in the position where there is an expectation by many that we make some clear statements around some of the big energy infrastructure projects planned for our own municipality”.

“In this instance we’re not saying we don’t support hydrogen as part of a new energy mix but we are saying we need to produce it in a manner that is free of carbon emissions”. 

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