Energy and Resources
What is the current condition of the region’s energy sector? What are our current tools for measuring conditions and trends?
Current condition of the energy sector can be assessed against baseline emissions relating to the various sector uses. This is a useful tool for measuring impact of future changes to practice and energy sources. The following study considers the impact in the form of emissions from fuel combustion and electricity consumption. Omitted from this summary is the impact from direct mining activities; however their industry electricity and fuel consumption is considered here. The University of Queensland (Dargusch et al. 2012) conducted a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory or ‘carbon footprint’ of the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin (QMDB) region. The project produced a high-level emissions inventory of the Basin to establish an emissions baseline in accordance with national standards for carbon accounting.
Emissions for the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin region total 36,368,667 tC02e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) for 2010-11 fiscal year are shown in the table below (Dargusch et al. 2012).
QMDB Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory for 2010-2011
Major mining activities include oil and gas operations, coal mining, and ‘other’ mining activities, which include bentonite, limestone, silver, and mineral excavation (Dargusch et al. 2012).
The stationary energy sector includes power stations, transmission and distribution, and household electricity consumption. This sector is a significant contributor to the region’s overall greenhouse gas emissions with the main contributor being the coal-fired power generation industry. Household emissions represent a minimal contribution to the stationary energy sector (Dargusch et al. 2012).
The agricultural sector of the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin region emitted about 6 million tonnes of CO2e in one year. The largest source of emissions in the livestock category was enteric fermentation, whilst in cropping the operating emissions were much larger and electricity use was the main contributor (Dargusch et al. 2012).
The industry sector comprises a broad range of businesses, both public and private, which produce goods and services for the economy. Overall, the sector contributes a large portion of air and waste pollution within the QMDB region. Sources of pollutions arise from purchases of electricity from the grid and usage of fuels on-site to drive production (Dargusch et al. 2012).
The burning of petroleum for transport results in the release of nitrous oxides and particulates and is a significance contributor of carbon dioxide emissions. Although energy use and emissions vary greatly between the different modes of transports, it is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the QMDB (Dargusch et al. 2012).
The Queensland Murray-Darling Basin’s waste emissions amount to approximately 6% of Queensland’s total waste emissions. Although the waste sector emissions seem comparatively small, a bulk of these emissions also has readily available technology to reduce them, representing an easily identified opportunity for the region to cut emissions(Dargusch et al. 2012).
Water management within the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin contributed approximately 42,000 tCO2e to the region’s footprint. This has resulted primarily from surface emissions of CO2 and CH4 from the dams within the region, and the electricity consumed to pump the water around the region (Dargusch et al. 2012).
There are a range of other reporting mechanisms and research relevant for benchmarking and reporting the condition of energy consumption for the Plan area. These include:
- Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies,
- National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, University of Southern Queensland Energy Benchmark software,
- GreenGauge (Stephenson 2004) QMDC,
- ecoBiz (CCIQ 2014) a project to help business reduce their waste, power, and water usage to save money, and
- Stock feed utilisation conversion.