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Beyond the expected

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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Canberra – City of Powerstations?
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Digga 11:12 pm 25 Dec 08

CPR has the new DA for Hume (block 20, section 23) on its website:

http://www.canberrapowerstation.info/ftp/hume/

Digga 11:20 pm 18 Dec 08

sepi: Very interesting, and how interesting then to note that ACTPLA currently have 2 sneaky power submissions with deadlines of 5th January; relating to the substation at Williamsdale for Transgrid and associated 132KV transmission lines, towers, etc.

Of the most interest in the first of the 2 below submissions is that Andrew Barr, Minister for Planning, exempts them from an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), even though this is impact track stuff due to the new Planning and Development Act 2007. He did this on 18 November 2008, just before this was advertised. So looks like every power station/sub-station going on round here currently doesn’t need to adhere to EIS controls put in place to protect the communities:
http://203.9.249.2/e-registers/pubnote/pdf/SUPP-200813390-Minister_re_EIS_exempt-01.pdf

“Subdivide block 1653 into two blocks; vary the purpose clause of the smaller block to permit major utility installation only. Proposed construction of new sub-station with site works including…”
http://apps.actpla.act.gov.au/pubnote/pubnoteDetail_new.asp?DA_no=200813390

“Proposed installation of a new 132KV subtransmission line between the proposed Transgrid substation at Williamsdale to an existing ActewAgl substation at Theodore.”
http://apps.actpla.act.gov.au/pubnote/pubnoteDetail_new.asp?DA_no=200813507

sepi 10:52 am 18 Dec 08

Very good point.
Xmas is a perfect time for govt to sneak something thru with ’10 days notice to the public’ if they dont’ want anyone to notice. Surely they wouldn’t want to do that with power station type stuff tho, after all the bad publicity they’ve already had due to shonky processes.

Still – there was an article yesterday about a development that will overshadow telopea park school, and those affected have been given til January 05 to comment, due to the Xmas period, so they do make some ceoncessions to the holiday season.

Digga 10:23 am 18 Dec 08

miz: Good point and to all those fellow citizens who cried NIMBY or chose to sat idly while the debate raged over the past 8 months; I worry for the apathy I witnessed in this city. Good luck to us all with a Government that’s pro-development beyond reasonable discussion with the community.

miz 7:02 pm 16 Dec 08

Residents in Belco should now beware about the future of the West Macgregor site. Bear with me while I explain:

The other day, the Greens and Libs got a clause removed from the ‘fast-track’ enabling power station legislation. This clause, had it remained, would have meant that they could waltz into any broadacre land and install a power station. It was removed. However, this does not mean the Govt cannot fast track a re-zoning of the West Macgregor site to Industrial to expedite the proponents’ NEXT power station.

I suggest keeping a weather eye on the ACTPLA website over the Christmas hols and beyond . . . and good luck!

Digga 9:59 am 15 Dec 08

Interesting thread – a related letter appeared in the Canberra Times today from Dr Bradford Sherman, Duffy.

His key point: why are we, ACT taxpayers, to subsidise the move of the CTC site to the tune of $10m? More so, why can’t this kind of spend be used to change their power generation technology plan from natural gas turbines to something renewable i.e. thermal solar (as suggested by Dr Chris Klootwjik, Macarthur also published in today’s Canberra Times). Especially as we are to be forced to have our monies used to subsidise power generating technology which, although cleaner than coal, will still make global warming worse by emitting more greenhouse gases.

The damage from the gas exhaust isn’t just carbon emissions, it’s massive amounts of heat (and further heat expunged from the massive computer data halls) and also the nasty particulates including Nitrous and Sulfur oxides. This isn’t good for anyone but Chris specifically points to the issue that this will cause acid concentrations air-borne that will impact on the National Library’s Repository’s collections at Hume (let alone their staff).

Just can’t win, with dirty pollution from fossil-fuel power sources impacting everyone.

RuffnReady 7:13 pm 13 Dec 08

Nice posts guys, thanks for the responses. 🙂

Yup, passive solar design works a treat, and yet it is not even on most people’s radar. Ho hum.

Oh, and thanks for that link, Aidan – what a great idea! Well done to those guys.

When we built our house a few years ago, we tried to take advantage of solar orientation and insulation, and the difference between our house and our previous rental in terms or energy efficiency is, frankly, stunning. Just by having the right sized eaves with big windows facing north, and plenty of insulation, we seem to maintain temperature really easily. I have also planted a tree outside our main north facing window (deciduous -spelling?) which is growing quite well, the idea being to provide extra shade in the warmer months while letting the sun in during the cooler months.

We have a wall mounted aircon unit, that gets used on the hottest days in January, and for brief (ie an hour or two) on hot days throughout late spring and early summer. Our heating is ducted gas (with a high efficiency head unit), and comes on periodically when on).

I didn’t realise just how much even basic efficiency principles would work in a home until we built our house. I am amazed at the number of new homes I look at that don’t realy take advantage of the seasons.

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