Greens Supporting Timor-Leste’s clean energy future

Blog of Bob Brown

Monday 12th July 2010, 1:09pm

Bob met with the President of Timor-Leste, Jose Ramos Horta, when he was visiting Australia in June. The two met over breakfast in Government House and Bob gave the President a Green’s Policy Iniative that aims to support Timor-leste in its desires to develop its own energy security.

The Greens policy commits to supporting Timor-Leste’s desire to see a gas pipeline to connect the Greater Sunrise field to Timor-Leste, which would assist the young nation to develop its own fuel source and related industries.

This policy recognises that Timor-Leste is one of the poorest nations in the world. 82% of households do not have access to electricity and 98% use firewood as their primary source of energy – which is leading to major problems with deforestation and erosion. The policy also responds to concerns that Timor-Leste currently plans to burn highly polluting waste oil in a power station because they do not have access to their own gas resources.

The Greens clean energy commitment will:
Vote with the Timor-Leste Government in the Sunrise Commission and Joint Commission to direct the Greater Sunrise developer to take the pipeline to Timor-Leste.
1. Fund the urgent establishment of a TAFE training facility to train Timor nationals in the skills needed for the pipeline development period and for the skills required for establishing a gas processing industry as well as rolling out and servicing renewable energy facilities.
2. Provide $5 million a year over 10 years to fund household power and lighting in 50,000 households across Timor-Leste. The initiative will also fund solar power technician training to install and service the systems.
3. Also released during the visit of Jose Ramos-Horta were the results of an opinion poll of the Australian public on the Greater Sunrise issue. The Galaxy Poll was undertaken of a representative sample of the Australian community on 18 20 June 2010. The question asked was:

Australia and East Timor have been sharing the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea since 2002. A new gas well is due to be opened soon by an Australian oil and gas company. The company says the gas should be processed on a floating LNG facility rather than piped to land because this is cheaper and easier for them. The East Timor Government says the gas should be piped to Timor for development because this would help to provide energy, create jobs and alleviate poverty. Who do you think the Australian Government should support, The East Timor Government, or the company?

The result was that the majority of Australians (52%) believe the Australian Government should back a proposal to have gas from a new well in the Timor Sea piped to Timor-Leste for processing.

This option is preferred by a factor of almost two to one over the alternative plan, which is to process the gas on a floating LNG facility.

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