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Canberra – City of Powerstations?

By johnboy - 11 December 2008 28

Over on the story about the Auditor-General slapping around the Macarthur power station debacle we’ve had a comment by Digga so interesting it deserves front page time of its own:

    Here is the Federal Government’s register of fossil-fuel based power stations that are proposed:

    Follow the link for Proposed Power Stations (yes: Power Stations) and you’ll find our little beauty in the list along with others (total of 3 listed for ACT). You won’t see the tip’s generators, the airport’s generators or others.

    Included in this list is the large peaking power station of around 600MW planned for Williamsdale, about 20km south of Canberra. In addition, the airport just turned on the first of 4 gas-fired tri-generation units. Co-gen/tri-gen aside; these are all polluting natural-gas burning turbines – and they’re static sources; not mobile and therefore dispersing as much as cars, aircraft etc.

    Added on top of the tip’s stationary methane-burning converted diesel engine units, additional aircraft, cars, gas-fired units in industry, homes and an overall ongoing increase and you have a composite level escalating without control or co-ordination.

    In case you missed it, here’s the airport’s first of four new gas-fired units:

    Could you please tell me, who’s co-ordinating all of this and who is pro-actively decommissioning worse polluting sources in an offset (vs. additive) way? What do we tell our kids in 17 years when we blow 2025’s reduced emissions targets.

While not necessarily averse to becoming a city of major power generation I’m curious as to when the public agreed this was where we wanted to go?

What’s Your opinion?


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28 Responses to
Canberra – City of Powerstations?
RuffnReady 11:21 pm 11 Dec 08

New Yeah said :

tortfeaser said :

The public agreed this was where we wanted to go as we decided we all needed air conditioning.

You’re being to generous – the public never agreed! There was never a vote on this. Rather, individuals have decided to stay cool by using a/c. This is an attractive lifestyle choice that has been made possible by a/c manufacturers and gas companies. While these companies do their best to improve the efficiency of their products (particularly by ensuring installation by trained fridgies), the way things are at the mo'(especially through poorly designed buildings), a/c is going to continue sucking up plenty of power.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that

I agree. It gets bloody hot in summer but we just need to be smarter about how we deal with it.

Surely three extra power stations is overkill. Wouldn’t one larger station do the trick?

1) IMHO, a/c is SOFT. Yes, in the workplace it makes sense, but otherwise it is a soft option. Many of us grew up without it and were just as happy to sweat for a few days in summer. We as a society have become extremely soft, and it is the environment that pays since we don’t pay for the cost of the pollution. We now consider many ‘wants’ to be ‘needs’, and that is to the detriment of the greater environment and future generations.

2) A/c manufacturers DO NOT do their best to improve efficiency. They do the minimum required by things like Mandatory Energy Performance Standards. MEPS are a start, but manufacturers can do far more. And worse, the stated (on the label) energy performance of many imported appliances has been shown to be far lower than the actual performance. This can easily be checked with a Powermate, but there are limited resources to enforce these standards.

3) Totally agree on housing design. By incorporating seven basic principles you can build a house that needs very little heating/cooling, uses a fraction of the energy, but we rarely apply them. Proper orientation and building form, appropriate thermal mass, glazing, shading, ventilation and landscaping. Building a house? Get it right from the start and it will be more comfortable with half the energy bill.

4) Want to buy personal a/c, you should have to buy the solar cells to power it at the same time – you use your a/c when the sun is shining! Since PV cells are so expensive, and a/cs suck so much power (typically 2.5kW+), that would be a huge incentive for manufacturers to make more efficient units, and within 5 years we’d have reasonably priced solar-powered a/cs on the market, you can guarantee it…

However, governments are benign and lobby-controlled, people want what they want while conveniently ignoring the consequences, and the status quo remains… c’est la vie.

RuffnReady 11:02 pm 11 Dec 08

heinous said :

Nice to see RiotACT has an unbiased greenhouse alarmist at the helm.

Please, let’s debate the science. I will own you, because I have read it. It is as robust as science gets.

Try reading from real scientific journals and not fossil-fuel sponsored garbage sites like junkscience.org.

RuffnReady 11:00 pm 11 Dec 08

I could write 15 pages on this, but I’ll just make a few quick points.

1) that map is annoying – the points should link to details of the individual developments. I want to know how big they are, and this should be easily accessible public information. I’ll look elsewhere.
2) gas is still a fossil fuel, and still polluting, but it is far better than coal for 2 reasons: a) it is significantly less polluting than coal, and thus a reasonable transition technology, and, b) it can be switched on and off very quickly and thus it could be part of a move away from the wasteful 24-hour-a-day baseload paradigm we currently operate under due to the primacy of inflexible coal-fired generation which makes up 82% of the 47.4GW national grid capacity.
3) I’m far more concerned about all those new coal plants being built – it reinforces a wasteful and highly polluting paradigm. Why isn’t the Federal Government mandating no more coal-fired plants, and a focus on electricity market reform (flat pricing is a joke) and demand reduction strategies? Because they aren’t really serious about action, owned by the lobbies is why.

I am going to it there before I get angry about all the double speak and inaction.

Message to those in power – GET THE MRET STRAIGHT AND DO IT NOW. We have been losing world-leading renewable technology offshore for a decade now – when will it stop???

Deano 10:45 pm 11 Dec 08

heinous said :

Nice to see RiotACT has an unbiased greenhouse alarmist at the helm.

Yep, just another cave person.

The airport system reduces energy consumption by 55% and is the same as systems being installed on mass in cities like London as major greenhouse gas reduction projects.

Methane is 20 times worse a greenhouse gas than CO2. The methane run units at the tip are actually doing something beneficial.

Wake up people, this is the climate change solution in action.

ant 9:45 pm 11 Dec 08

Well, the airport could build all kinds of things, who do they ask permission from again?

Skidbladnir 7:03 pm 11 Dec 08

heinous said :

caf, you are entirely correct, my mistake I apologises to you JB.

The man likes full pints, not empty words. 😛

heinous 7:00 pm 11 Dec 08

caf, you are entirely correct, my mistake I apologises to you JB.

caf 6:30 pm 11 Dec 08

heinous: That spiel you quoted was itself from the quoted comment by “Digga” (all the indented text is a quote).

New Yeah 6:26 pm 11 Dec 08

tortfeaser said :

The public agreed this was where we wanted to go as we decided we all needed air conditioning.

You’re being to generous – the public never agreed! There was never a vote on this. Rather, individuals have decided to stay cool by using a/c. This is an attractive lifestyle choice that has been made possible by a/c manufacturers and gas companies. While these companies do their best to improve the efficiency of their products (particularly by ensuring installation by trained fridgies), the way things are at the mo'(especially through poorly designed buildings), a/c is going to continue sucking up plenty of power.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that

I agree. It gets bloody hot in summer but we just need to be smarter about how we deal with it.

Surely three extra power stations is overkill. Wouldn’t one larger station do the trick?

heinous 6:12 pm 11 Dec 08

JB, it’s not that you brought the news to us, personally I think it’s a good thing your doing and keep up the good work, rather, it’s the accompanying spiel like What do we tell our kids in 17 years when we blow 2025’s reduced emissions targets

johnboy 5:36 pm 11 Dec 08

some will be worried about the greenhouse, other about the introduction of heavy industry.

it was news to me, so probably will be to some others too.

The CO2 isn’t a problem for local pollution.

heinous 5:33 pm 11 Dec 08

Nice to see RiotACT has an unbiased greenhouse alarmist at the helm.

Mr Evil 4:59 pm 11 Dec 08

Jessica’s looking lovely, isn’t she!

tortfeaser 4:52 pm 11 Dec 08

The public agreed this was where we wanted to go as we decided we all needed air conditioning. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

An ETS means we won’t have increased emissions from these new generators, we’ll just pay a whole lot more for the emissions we make. Makes a mockery of the feed in tariff, MRET and other local- and state- government emissions reduction efforts.

I understand gas fired generation was less emissions intensive than coal anyway.

caf 4:43 pm 11 Dec 08

I’m pretty sure this makes no difference to the emissions targets – our emissions from electricity use should be counted by the electricity used here, regardless of where the generators actually sit. Otherwise we’d be freeriding at the expense of NSW.

In fact inasmuch as co/tri generation reduces electricity consumption we should be slightly better off.

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