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A Kimberley environmental group has called on mining magnate Andrew Forrest to offload his gas assets after he announced Fortescue Metals Group would embark on a major journey to become one of the world's biggest producers and financiers of renewable energy.
Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard welcomed Dr Forrest's announcement at FMG's annual general meeting in Perth on Wednesday, but said his energy business Squadron Energy still had a major focus on fossil fuels in Australia.
Andrew Forrest, Chairman, appearing via video at Fortescue Metals Group AGM at Perth Convention Centre.Credit:Philip Gostelow
"Given Dr Forrest is taking heed of the science of climate change and recognising this is a serious threat to the world, we are calling on him to stop exploring for fossil fuels in the Canning Basin region of the southern Kimberley," Mr Pritchard said.
"Dr Forrest cannot expect to be credible by talking, on the one hand, about renewable energy being the future while still exploring for oil and gas in the Kimberley."
Squadron Energy is owned by Dr Forrest's commercial investment vehicle Tattarang and has renewable energy interests, including a 15 per cent foundation investment in the 4500-kilometre Sun Cable plan to send Australian green electricity to South East Asia.
However, Squadron still has interests in the future Port Kembla gas terminal in NSW and is involved in a gas exploration joint venture with Goshawk Energy across in Kimberley, which Mr Pritchard said did not match with the commitment to tackle climate change.
"There’s an inconsistency in what Dr Forrest’s company Squadron Energy is saying versus what they are doing," he said.
"Dr Forrest is clearly passionate about the marine environment but more oil and gas being burnt is going to lead to more bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef, as well as Kimberley coral reefs.
"It’s clear he wants to be a global leader in renewable energy, he’s got the money to do it, but he’s not going to be taken seriously if he’s going to continue to look for new oil and gas deposits."
Dr Forrest wants FMG's green offshoot – Fortescue Future Industries – to produce 235 gigawatts of installed energy capacity annually, which is greater than the equivalent fossil fuel energy produced by Chevron in 2019.
"After scientific and personal analysis of the renewable energy resources of our little planet, I can assure you that there is more than enough renewable energy to sustainably and economically supply every person on this planet from this time forth," he told shareholders on Wednesday.
"When we as Fortescue, the pioneer, can really lead the way of large volume, low-cost, green hydrogen and green ammonia shipped around the world, then you'll see others join and you will begin to see the commercial driving end of climate change."
Dr Forrest was contacted for further comment.
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