Living in a time of power changes

Graham Mantle

Graham Mantle

The council’s decision about oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight has been a rough ride for some, having suffered harsh criticism and abuse from members of the community.

I have to tell you that all councillors have agonised over their decisions and no one has put self interest ahead of what they believe to be right.

On the one hand there are the horrendous consequences of a major oil spill.

On the other hand, having no oil would mean no fishing, no cropping, no transport.

So please accept that councillors all voted in good faith as they saw the issues.

We live in a time of changes. The climate is changing, the government is changing (I heard someone say “Christmas? Why that must be only three prime ministers away.”)

And the way we generate power is also changing.

Industry and even the coal giants are turning to wind and solar generation simply because it is cheaper.

Electric and hydrogen powered vehicles will take over our roads in a very short space of time.

Australia is currently being flagged as a likely exporter of hydrogen to the world.

Hydrogen is produced from water and sea water is quite suitable.

We also have an abundant supply of surplus renewable energy to drive this industry.

But we must also recognise that we humans have a propensity to stuff up the environment.

Using sea water means you have to dispose of salt. Easy!

Use 80 per cent of the water you pump to produce hydrogen and 20 per cent to flush the salt back into the sea.

On a small scale and with suitable tidal movement there would not be a problem but if your production is filling tankers 24/7, you may well increase the salinity of coastal waters to a level where sea creatures cannot exist.

Hydrogen production will almost certainly fall into the hands of the multinationals that now want to drill for oil.

Fishing and aquaculture industries beware.