Narrabri renewable energy jobs twice that of coal seam gas: report

NARRABRI would have more than double the amount of jobs if it chose to go down a renewable energy path, rather than the coal seam gas path, a new report states.

The report was conducted by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, at the request of environmental group Lock the Gate.

A conservative model based on the state’s current renewable energy policies found Narrabri had the potential for up to $1 billion in investments, through the installation 622MW of solar and 175MW of wind power, which would take up just four per cent of the land area required for the proposed Narrabri gasfield.

The report says that would create 500 permanent local jobs in operation and maintenance created by 2030, which would be local jobs as “a fly-in fly out workforce is not feasible”.

Full report available at the bottom of the article

Santos says its Narrabri Gas Project would create 1300 jobs during construction and 200 ongoing roles during its 25-year lifetime.

Report author and institute director Sven Teske said the Narrabri region would “leap ahead” if it chose to use its natural advantages, with the jobs created lasting well beyond the end date for the Narrabri gasfield.

“I have modelled renewable energy scenarios all around the world and the potential in Narrabri is exciting,” Dr Teske said.

A second “advanced” scenario was modelled based on the role Narrabri could play if there was a rapid transformation of Australia to a wholly renewable energy system.

It would see 3600 construction jobs created and 2840 ongoing jobs by 2030, through a $6.5 billion investment into 3800MW of solar and 600MW of wind.

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Lock the Gate spokesman and Narrabri local Rohan Boehm is keen to make the report a reality.

“We’d rather choose durable stable jobs in an industry that doesn't compromise the natural resources that make Narrabri Shire what it is,” he said.

“When we listen to what’s on offer from Santos we have to ask, are the jobs you’re talking about going to last longer than a mortgage? And what will be the legacy you leave us?”

Santos documents show that of the 200 ongoing jobs, 45 per cent (about 90 workers) would live in or within an hour of Narrabri, while another 50 workers would move to Narrabri for the job.

The remaining 60 workers would be based in a capital city or fly-in fly-out.

“The 200 general operations workers required for the project would include a mix of existing roles already based in Narrabri, support roles based in Sydney/Brisbane/Adelaide and new roles that would be created over the life of the project,” the company’s recent Response to Submissions states.

“Generally, employees would be sought from the local area, with training programs instigated where skills are not currently available. It is likely however that some specialist positions would remain FIFO, although this is expected to be small.

“Local workers and parts and service procurement would be favoured by the proponent where appropriate.”