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Dirty Energy Power Plant in Canberra

deezagood 28 April 2008 117

Readers may be interested to learn that the Canberra energy company ActewAGL (which has the ACT Chief Minister and Deputy as voting shareholders) is planning to build a 2 billion dollar gas turbine operated power plant, just 600 metres from a residential suburb. This type/size of plant will emit approximately 95 million cubic metres (38,000 Olympic swimming pools) of poisonous exhaust fumes into the atmosphere every day. Aside from the constant whining of the gas turbines, the main concern is the amount of Nitrogen Dioxide that will be blown over our community (our research indicates that primarily Isaacs, Swinger Hill and Wanniasa will be affected).

Even in low levels this toxin causes increased bronchial reactivity in asthmatics, decreased lung function and increased risk of respiratory infections. For this reason, these plants are usually located in rural areas, far away from local communities.

These gas plants use dirty energy (the only dirtier energy is black coal); hardly in keeping with the federal government’s promise to reduce greenhouse emissions. Where is the proposal for clean energy such as hydro, wind and solar?

 ActewAGL have ‘sold’ the development as a mean of supplying power for a ‘data storage centre’, but we estimate that the centre (which is basically a ruse to enable the power plant to get the green light) will require about 33 MW, leaving an additional 177MW for ActewAGL to sell back to the Australian Power Grid.  To accommodate this power plant, the government has surreptitiously re-zoned local land (currently a nature reserve and horse agistment areas).

Where other governments act to protect the health and well-being of their citizens, ours re-zones land to enable dirty energy power plants to be built 600 metres from homes; we are so lucky to live in the ACT.


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117 Responses to Dirty Energy Power Plant in Canberra
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ant ant 9:31 pm 29 Apr 08

Keep up the fight, Deezagood. If this can happen, it can happen to anyone. If we allow this to happen to people, it can (and will) happen to all people. I saw some footage of the public meeting on the news, looks like a good roll up. Planners are meant to be there to ensure that everyone is considered, that the big guys don’t roll the little people. The gov’t is meant to do this also, but our ACT gov’t frequently forgets this. Time they were reminded.

el el 8:25 pm 29 Apr 08

LOL!

deezagood deezagood 8:19 pm 29 Apr 08

Maybe … if we still have the strength to whine after our lungs are all damaged and hearing is shot to pieces 🙂

el el 7:55 pm 29 Apr 08

Most Government departments are potential clients of the data centre, not just the DoD.

I’d suggest the ‘constant whining of gas turbines’ will surely be drowned out by the constant whining of Macarthur residents.

deezagood deezagood 7:39 pm 29 Apr 08

El – there won’t be a data centre. ActewAGL guy stated, in his opening remarks, that Canberra needs their own gas plant because they are major terrorist target and we will be left without power if terrorist take out the plants currently servicing Canberra. Okay – good point. I don’t want to be left without power. But he then went on to say that the Department of Defence are a major potential client of the data storage centre. Ummmmmmm okay … makes sense for Defence (or any company) to store their data right next to a MAJOR TERRORIST TARGET! I would suggest the ruse is up. I kinda lost interest at the end but somebody mentioned the data centres should not be right next to a power plant for some electromagnetic blahdy blah reason (perhaps more FUD?).

I think the very best line was when the Actew guy said that one of the benefits to Macarthur residents was that the power station would block our unsightly views of the dump!!

el el 6:57 pm 29 Apr 08

Oh and so much for Deano’s support of due process; CEO ActewAGL stated on radio today that the power plant will go ahead – irrespective of community protest (which I’m sure will make the NIMBY-bashers extremely happy) as it is the only suitable site in ACT

Excellent news. Be interesting to see the data centre on completion, too.

deezagood deezagood 6:16 pm 29 Apr 08

Hi everyone; NIMBY cave-girl here again. Don’t see how I’m a ‘troublemaker’; I only felt compelled to post in response Deano’s Macarthur caveman comments (first time I have actually felt the need to post on anything). I have the ‘right of reply’.

Dropping land prices don’t bother me – I’m a renter. I can either stay and enjoy cheaper rent or move (but not to Isaacs, Wanniasa or Swinger Hill of course)

It ISN’T HUME – its bloody Tuggeranong … Block 1671. Check the ACTPLA website, DA Applications, under TUGGERANONG. I might be a NIMBY f”tard, but I can read. Then again, maybe ACTPLA has quietly (without consultation) re-zoned Hume into Tuggers … let’s face it – anything could happen

At last night’s meeting … yes- there was a chorus of emotional NIMBY protests – but also some pretty decent arguments/concerns from the floor.

ActewAGL finally admitted, at last night’s meeting, that it is all about the power and that the data storage was a means to get the gas station approved (after a decade of failing to justify the need for a gas plant).

ACTPLA didn’t bother turning up at all – leaving ActewAGL free to blame them (and their processes) for poor signage, lack of community engagement, the media embargo etc… Also made the point that the site was the ONLY suitable one offered by ACTPLA … which is scary given the size/scope of this infrastructure project (second largest infrastructure in the ACT after parliament house). I actually felt quite sorry for the Actew guy.

Highlight (for me) of last night’s meeting was the much-abused ActewAGL guy using the Coopers brewery gas turbine station (regency Park in Adelaide) as an example of how residential areas and gas turbines can co-exist in harmony. This was also the example used by ActewAGL when briefing the pollies about this project. Actew guy shut down really fast when one (well-researched) attendee noted the Coopers brewery produced 4MW of power versus ‘our’ gas turbine, that produces 210MW. Cooper brewery also has sophisticated sound reducing equipment (‘ours’ won’t because ActewAGL don’t think the cost/benefit equation is worth it).

Oh and so much for Deano’s support of due process; CEO ActewAGL stated on radio today that the power plant will go ahead – irrespective of community protest (which I’m sure will make the NIMBY-bashers extremely happy) as it is the only suitable site in ACT

Frankly; based on this debacle thus far, I don’t think ActewAGL or ACTPLA are well-equipped to manage ‘a major project of significant strategic importance to Canberra’ …. if it IS so important, why haven’t they done their jobs properly? Also – I suggest the NIMBY-bashers take a very close look at the submission report and the data used to minimise the NOx emissions, sound modeling etc… in the words of one of the attendees last night – holes big enough to drop a 210MW gas station through!

Pandy Pandy 5:16 pm 29 Apr 08

ACTEWAGL is pulling a swifty. The original site of this plant was shown on the CTC maps as being here:

http://www.canberratechnologycity.com.au/images/dualsite-thumb.gif

which is near the prison site:

http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=canberra&ie=UTF8&ll=-35.380233,149.164681&spn=0.044437,0.036564&z=15

A much better place.

Why was this new site chosen so near to MacArthur that any cretin doing
research would have realised said NO to a dragway in 2004? Did they not
think that the residents would rebel?

This issue has the potential to see Hargraeves lose his seat.

James-T-Kirk James-T-Kirk 4:36 pm 29 Apr 08

I need 1000W to down load the newest HD porn

moff moff 4:33 pm 29 Apr 08

ant:” wasteful people building massive houses with giant heating AND cooling systems, expecting to turn on a switch and suck down as much power as they want.”

I find it UNFATHOMABLE that freinds of mine are putting 500 and 1000 watt power supplies into thier desktop pcs which they primarily browse the net on. I have to toot my own trumpet, but I will – I have discarded my desktops and solely use my laptop, and my eeepc, which use 90 watts and 7 watts respectively.

S4anta S4anta 4:08 pm 29 Apr 08

he he intelljunt desine.

Mælinar Mælinar 3:51 pm 29 Apr 08

AND I DO NOT ASK SILLY QUESTIONS LIKE THOSE INTELLIGENT DESIGN PEOPLE ABOUT THIS PROCESS

Mælinar Mælinar 3:50 pm 29 Apr 08

Alls’ I’m saying is I’m doing my bit for the environment, one bottle at a time. That carbondioxide came from somewhere, and it ends up in your belly, alongside the rest of the ingredients in beer.

I need no further reason to drink beer, although I have many in reserve.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 3:10 pm 29 Apr 08

I meant to say: “although we don’t carbonate HOME BREW beer…”

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 3:09 pm 29 Apr 08

Just so we’re all clear – although we don’t carbonate beer with compressed CO2 gas, the carbon contained within the sucrose molecules upon which the yeast feeds during secondary fermentation is released to the atmosphere when the beer is consumed. Don’t forget that sucrose (sugar for the philistines) is comprised, at a molecular level, of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Secondary fermentation breaks the moleculr bonds and decomposes the sucrose into less complex molecules, including CO2.

moff moff 2:55 pm 29 Apr 08

The datacentre is going to be used not just for commercial users, but my understanding was that it would also be used for national archiving purposes, being that it is going to be in a network of redundant datacentres accross australia in case a catasrtophe was to destroy one of them.
From what I understand, this project was designed with the idea that it would secure our ‘digital heritage’, be it national archives, births, deaths, etc, aswell as providing secure, reliable floorspace for commercial use. So don’t complain if this thing doesnt get built and theres a disaster *somewhere* and the government/internet providers/corporate IT services aren’t able to supply you with services that you expect to be given to you as a birthright.

As for the question ‘where is ACTEW going to get $2 billion from?’
Most likely government contracts, spread over a span of ten or so years. Commercial datacentres can cost up into the millions for power and cooling costs, so I imagine there are many companies who are very interested in being able to participate in high-density, cost- and energy-efficient data storage.

There are already a couple of datacentres in Hume, aswell as the humungous Optus datacentre, so it’s sensible to put it in close proximity to the rest(‘600m from ‘Hume’ is pretty much ‘next door’ when you consider fibre speeds) to reduce costs associated with costly fibre runs.

Also, get over it – maybe its not ‘in hume’ – who cares? it’s close enough. Its being put NEXT TO A TIP – you don’t really have a leg to stand on if you think this is going to deprecate land value, or whatever.

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 2:39 pm 29 Apr 08

Most of your mass produced beers (VB, MB, Tooheys, XXXX etc) are carbonated after fermentation. For what it’s worth the beer finishes fermentation at around 8.0-8.2% Alc/vol. water is added to bring down alc. to around 4.9-5.0%, surfactants are added to help head retention and then it’s carbonated during the packaging process.

Kramer Kramer 2:21 pm 29 Apr 08

CO2 is only added to beer if you are artifically carbonating it. If it undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle (like home brew and Coopers (don’t know if they still do this?)) then you don’t need to carbonate it. Yay for homebrew!

Kramer Kramer 2:15 pm 29 Apr 08

James-T-Kirk – thanks for an awesome and very entertaining comment. Maybe they should have used a term like “DR” rather than say disaster! I would have thought Canberrans would have been smarter, and more IT literate, than that.

James-T-Kirk James-T-Kirk 1:56 pm 29 Apr 08

Finally Deano – “City planning by angry mob rule is no way for a modern society to operate. This is a free society and everyone is free to do as they wish within the bounds of law.”

I agree completely, which is why I am encouraging everybody I know to write to the local council (oh – sorry, ACT Government), saying how brilliant this plan is. I suspect the NIMBY factor that are actually capable or writing and correctly addressing an envelope would be well and truly out weighed by people who were prepared to back this plan on its merits, and not baulk just because they don’t want it in their backyard.

And finally – Just so it is truly clear – The microsecond that it becomes financially viable to put one of these things in my backyard to turn my own personal power meter backwards (legally) – I am on to it!!!!! Always remember rule zero – Be the one to make the others pay you!!!!!

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