Alternative site for the power-station/data centre – Hume after all.

johnboy 5 December 2008 59

The Chief Minister is having a little hissy fit over being forced to compromise by no longer holding a majority in the Assembly.

In particular he’s petulantly noting that there is a site in Hume proper where the accursed TRE data centre with power generation could go.

    “At the request of the consortium behind the data centre the Government has identified an alternative site, in Hume. The taskforce has deemed the site, Block 20 Section 23 Hume, the next most suitable after the Mugga Lane site.

    Mr Stanhope said he was deeply disappointed that a billion-dollar project had been exposed to such risk by the Liberals and Greens for purely political purposes and he hoped the investment in the ACT economy could be salvaged by the Government.

    The land would need to be made available to the consortium by way of special legislation, which would allow a finalisation of a new development application within the same timeframe as the current DA – by March 2009.

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59 Responses to Alternative site for the power-station/data centre – Hume after all.
Digga Digga 12:13 pm 15 Dec 08

Thumper, miz: More information on Belconnen; this time from Canberra Times from their article back on Saturday 14 June when the Chief Minister and his staff were being recalled to provide evidence to the Select Estimates Committee. Zed visited the site and indicated the proof received in the FOI (Freedom Of Information) release documents that showed intent to place gas co-generation in Belconnen (West Macgreger) also:

Thumper Thumper 8:36 am 11 Dec 08

Right behind the garden centre. interestingly that area already has a great big fence with barbed wire on top.

Thumper Thumper 8:34 am 11 Dec 08

Thanks for the images Digga

Along Parkwood road. Interesting…

Why not built it out near the old dump site?

Jonathon Reynolds Jonathon Reynolds 12:55 am 11 Dec 08

Digga said :

The legislation specifically eliminates any recourse for the community through ADJR Administrative Decision (Judicial Review).

If this is actually the case then that is a very dangerous precedent to set. Though I seem to remember that something similar occurred with the GDE, but that in itself did not stop Save The Ridge (STR) from ultimately having their day in court. The fact that STR came off second best, and was severely financially bruised by their legal escapade is neither here nor there. It was just unfortunate that their actions held up the delivery of important transport infrastructure.

If there are genuine legal reasons why the development could (or should) be challenged then any individual (or group) wishing to pursue that path should not be denied their legal right to do so. If the CTC don’t like that, I am sure that I wouldn’t be the first to say that they are welcome to take their bat and ball and go play elsewhere – we have already seen in the media that there are other players queuing up to for the opportunity to deliver equivalent data-centres without the emission spewing co-generation facilities to go with it.

Digga Digga 11:59 pm 10 Dec 08

The legislation (Hume Assessment Facilitation Bill) will open up the boundaries to allow A development application (note: not “the” development application; i.e. it can take any shape or form – not yet known) and then allows ongoing any “related” development application to also be fast-tracked through the merit planning track. Roll on West Macgregor/Belconnen as the CTC (Canberra Technology City) mirror site, complete with gas-fired turbines and larger even than the site planned for South-side.

For a period of one year, after the Greens and Liberals naively vote this in, the developers have open slather and can even increase the co-generation capacity (i.e. install more turbines in more developments), all without any ability for any third party to appeal. The legislation specifically eliminates any recourse for the community through ADJR Administrative Decision (Judicial Review).

Game over. You snooze, you lose.

Digga Digga 4:19 pm 10 Dec 08

housebound: Here’s Stephen Ellis’ comments in the article published by iTnews at the beginning of September:,bed-sheets-cover-up-widening-data-centre-crisis.aspx/2

Whatsup Whatsup 4:16 pm 10 Dec 08

CanberraMan said :

Broadacre has always allowed for the development of “Major Utility Infrastructure” i.e. a power station. Check the territory plan.

Even the auditor general has questioned this in Section 3.79 from his “Proposal for a gas-fired power station and data centre – site selection process”,

There were, however, several shortcomings in the site selection and transfer
processes. These included: · ambiguity of permissible uses of broadacre land;

The auditor general doesn’t think that a simple check of the territory plan will clarify things.

housebound housebound 3:31 pm 10 Dec 08

Digga said :

(Stephen Ellis of Technical Real Estate stated that they are looking to put co-generation in to all of their sites)

First I heard of this one. Stanhope (or maybe AcTEW’s Costello) categorically denied that there wuld be any power generation at Belconnen.

CanberraMan CanberraMan 2:46 pm 10 Dec 08

Broadacre has always allowed for the development of “Major Utility Infrastructure” i.e. a power station. Check the territory plan.

miz miz 1:27 pm 10 Dec 08

Stanhope now wants it to be a “communications facility”. This means no broadacre in Canberra is safe from a power station if this fast track legislation passes without this bit being removed.

See here, clause 9

CanberraMan CanberraMan 2:56 pm 09 Dec 08

I am not interested in spin, call it a power station with co-generation or a power station with CHP, or a power station with tri-generation if you like. My point is compared with the traditional way we generate power in this country, co-generation is a highly efficient method that has the support of many environmental NGO’s including Greenpeace.

Digga Digga 8:32 am 09 Dec 08

CanberraMan: Thanks for clarification. Understand what co-generation, CHP, tri-generation etc. is, but it happens because of the power station in the first instance and then post-processes the generated heat for benefit. In co-generation, the steam is usually captured and used to drive a secondary steam turbine hence closed-cycle gas turbine setup.

In the gas-fired power station as part of the Canberra Technology City proposal for Hume (was Tuggeranong) and Belconnen (Stephen Ellis of Technical Real Estate stated that they are looking to put co-generation in to all of their sites), it is dependent on the spin as to whether it’s called a power station/power plant and then utilising the generated heat for cooling purposes or “just” a co-generation facility.

Digga Digga 8:29 am 09 Dec 08

Thumper, miz: Belconnen images are here:

Wide area view (target area is Broadacre creamy-coloured zone to the extreme left/West):

Near view of target area:

Scan of sketch plan of site boundaries, power assets location etc:

Interpretation of site area (excluding power assets etc):

CanberraMan CanberraMan 1:24 pm 08 Dec 08

Who is talking about gas-fired power in isolation here, I am talking about co-generation (or combined heat and power (CHP). That is the use of heat normally wasted created as a bi-product of power generation that is put to a valuable use. Yes the CTC is an example of gas-fired co-generation, but traditional gas fired power stations simply allow that heat created as a bi-product to go up and away into the atmosphere.

For the simplest example of how this works consider you are boiling some potatoes. They are boiling away and the steam is going up the range hood. You also need to steam some broccoli, you could turn on another hotplate boil some more water and put your steamer or colander over the boiling water, or you could just use all that steam being wasted from the potatoes and put the steamer on top of the first pot of boiling potatoes and reduce your power consumption by half.

The same simple concept applies with co-generation.

Digga Digga 3:35 pm 07 Dec 08

CanberraMan: Your information on gas-fired vs. coal is applicable for mandatory power requirements i.e. community-dependent major utility power stations. We’re not talking apples and apples here with the power only being used to power computers in a private enterprise’s data centres (and therefore the power not being required if the data centres don’t exist or have such a high power requirement).

Here’s a nugget of information relating to the real statistics of how “clean” this gas-fired power station will be.
Letter to the Editor of the Canberra Times, by Dr Chris Klootwjik, visiting honourary fellow at the ANU Earth Sciences unit:

“The ACT?’s main climate change document ?Weathering the Change – ACT Climate Change Strategy 2007-2025? estimates current greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT at about 4.45 million tonnes per year.

The strategy aims for a reduction to the 2000 level (4.059 million tonnes) by 2025 and a further reduction to 60% of the 2000 level by 2050. However, CO2 emissions of the proposed Tuggeranong 28MW gas-fired power plant are estimated at 170,000 tonnes per year, adding yearly 4.2% to the 2000 emissions level.

CO2 emissions of the proposed Williamsdale 500 MW gas-fired power plant would add a further 74.8% to the 2000 emissions level (assuming similar emissions characteristics).

Adoption of the gas option to power Canberra would add 79% to the 2000 emissions level and begs the question how a 60% reduction by 2050 could possibly be achievable?

Clearly, alternative non-polluting renewable energy options should be pursued!”

miz miz 1:22 pm 07 Dec 08

It’s concerning that, according to what I have heard, the ‘new’ site proposed was only re-zoned to industrial recently. It is currently a pleasant piece of rural land just north of the tip. They tried to sell it recently to no avail (see link below).

You can see it’s not really much of a move from the previous site (see ABC map below) so I wonder if they are still going to have to relocate the health facility?

poptop poptop 7:50 am 07 Dec 08

If it was Nitrous Oxide we’d be beating them back with pointed sticks.

wodendweller wodendweller 11:28 pm 06 Dec 08

The theory is that a power station is co-located next to the data centre and it is announced as a data hub with no reference to the power station. The surrounding land can then be re-zoned and the power station upgraded to provide power for the new industrial estate. Just don’t ask about the impact of 24/7 nitrous dioxide emissions on nearby residences, particularly the kids.

miz miz 10:46 pm 06 Dec 08

Cheers. I hope everyone who kept saying it is a NIMBY issue is eating their hat right about . . . now.

wodendweller wodendweller 10:43 pm 06 Dec 08


At one of the information sessions on the power station in Macarthur, one of the representatives of the development said, after a long and intense debate, ” You should be far more worried if you live on the Northside. The power station there will be much bigger and dirtier than the one in Macarthur”.

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