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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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fnaah fnaah 9:39 am 28 Apr 08

Constant whining, eh? Somehow, I don’t doubt it.

caf caf 10:02 am 28 Apr 08

Who’s “we”?

Tempestas Tempestas 10:03 am 28 Apr 08

A letter to the ed in the Canberra Times and several comments in the Cave People thread.

Hate to break it to you but just maybe Hume is the appropriate place for industrial development.

Anyone might think you are concerned about something selfish like property values.

Next thing you will want all the planes to fly in from the northside to take them further than 5 km away then are currently.

caf caf 10:05 am 28 Apr 08

Oh, and the comment in the story “These gas plants use dirty energy (the only dirtier energy is black coal);” is factually incorrect – brown coal is dirtier than black coal, peat is also a worse power source, as are oil-burning power plants. That’s just off the top of my head.

p1 p1 10:12 am 28 Apr 08

Who the hell lives within 600m of Hume? And if they do, surely that means they bought land right next to a land fill, have just obtained a prison, what difference is a powerstation going to make?

Plus, I thought that brown coal was substantially “dirtier” then black coal or gas. And while I’m not sure I agree, there are planty of people that would put nuclear in the “dirty” category as well.

p1 p1 10:12 am 28 Apr 08

SNAP!

deezagood deezagood 10:18 am 28 Apr 08

Canberra Times article 11/04/2008 ‘Capital Data Hub’ states that a decade of studies failed to establish a case for gas-fired power until last year when ActewAGL noticed the sudden and dramatic shift in demand for a data centre centre’

At full capacity, will need about 33MW; the power plant will provide an additional 177MW for ActewAGL to sell back to the Austral Power Grid – the data storage is a ruse to get themselves a power plant

Just recently, Standhope and the CEO of ActewAGL were on ABC news spouting the benefits of solar power and how we must embrace this blah blah blah. Gas is dirty power (oaky – perhaps not as dirty as nuclear, peat, brown coal etc..) but it isn’t ‘clean’. Many governments are looking at legislating against this type of plant because of the greenhouse emissions

Actual extract from their submission:

‘The Poposed Gas Fired Station location is curently designated for broad acre land and therefore zone E. The allowable noise emssion levels are presented as 50 decabels during the day and 40 db at night. It is expected the entire area is to be re-zoned as industrial and therefore be designated as zone A, with emission criteria of 65 db …’ (in other words, ACT PLA is re-zoning the land to enable this noisy station to be built … we smell a large rat!!!)

For such a large scale project (second largest piece of Canberra infrastrucure next to parliament house) the submission signage is tiny and obscure – on Mugga Lane and adjacent to the road so that even passing motorists couldn’t read it! Also – submission over school holidays! They have literally tried to sneak this through.

Extracts from the Noise Emmission report:
‘Noise levels at the immediate boundary of the site have been shown to slightly exceed night time industrial noise criterion. However costly noise mitigation measures to reduce this impact are considered impractical..’
‘Of particular concern is a Health Treatment Facility that is located to the south of the proposed site .. this is a residential facility ‘(note that this is a home for severely mentally impaired residents – about 300 metres from the site)
‘The assessment shows that the noise levels at the Health Treatment facility .. will be affected by excessive noise levels’
‘Therefore noise treatments in the form of noise barriers to reduce noise levels at the immediate boundary of the site would be very large and costly’

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 10:23 am 28 Apr 08

Another whinging loony NIMBY crawls out from under their rock to spread lies and mis-information.

One would imagine that, given the number of reports, assessments, and planning strategies completed over say the past 8-10 years that have all concluded that Hume is a fantastic place for industrial development, a gas-fired power plant and data management facility would be just the ticket.

I would also imagine that a power plant fueled by shale oil would trump a diesel oil p;ant that would trump a brown coal plan that beats a black coal plant – to be honest gas (either methane or LNG) would have to be about as clean as they come – you’d probably have to go to one of the long-term seriously sustainable sources like nuclear/solar/hydro/wind to get cleaner.

deezagood deezagood 10:26 am 28 Apr 08

It isn’t going to be in ‘Hume’ – or where you think Hume might be. The ‘Hume’ stuff is another ruse to sneak this through. Everyone thinks Hume is on the other size of the freeway (in the industrial area), so what does it matter? But do you really want a dirty gas power station ANYWHERE near residences? Why aren’t we looking to wind, hydro or solar? Do we really want Canberra to have it’s own smog?

Jonathon Reynolds Jonathon Reynolds 10:35 am 28 Apr 08

There is a meeting tonight down in Tuggeranong (Vikings Club in the Town Centre) about the proposed development. I was sent a copy of the flyer that was going to be letter-boxed to homes in Maccarthur:
http://img187.imageshack.us/img187/3121/specialmeetingos0.jpg

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 10:37 am 28 Apr 08

It’s in Hume end of story.

p1 p1 10:39 am 28 Apr 08

I agree. A nice big line of large white wind turbines all along the brindies makes much more sense.

What the Australian power grid needs is base load production capacity to begin replacing coal and oil, not more peak load, on demand, production capacity to complement it.

Deano Deano 10:55 am 28 Apr 08

deezagood, running away from the other thread doesn’t make your mistruths any more valid

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?

From the assessment report:

“gas fired electricity generation produces approximately 21-43% less CO2 equivalent emissions of that produced from black coal electricity generation. Similarly the amount of N2O that will be produced will be approximately 8 times less than that produced by a black coal power station.

It is therefore anticipated that there will be a positive impact on the greenhouse gas emissions within the ACT and surrounding NSW region.”

Only someone living under a rock could think this was being snuck through. The proposal has been publicized on the front page of the Canberra Times on more than one occasion. It is going through the normal planning approval process.

Your letter to the editor in today’s Canberra Times contains many mistruths:

* The nearest residence is 990m away, not 600m
* There is no evidence that the planning submission was surreptitious
* The application signage is the same as used for every planning application in the ACT. Notice was published in the Canberra Times and full details are available from the ACTPLA web site
* Yes gas turbine engines are noisy when installed in aircraft. Their use in power stations is entirely different. Even the noise assessment report doesn’t rate the turbines as the noisiest component of the station.
* The land in question was never a reserve and there are definitely are not ‘thousands of kangaroos’ living there.
* The entire power station is not going to be built next year but in stages as the data centres are built. The power station is required before the data centres are built because it supplies the power and cooling facilities.

If you have valid concerns then lodge an objection but this misinformation is not adding to your creditability.

deezagood deezagood 11:13 am 28 Apr 08

Perhaps not Deano, but at least people are taking notice. I am curious as to why you are you so ‘pro’ the power station? And to counter your points:

– the nearest residence the residential medical treatment facility – just a few hundred metres away
– The facility is being marketed in the media as a data storage facility in Hume
– RSPCA has been out and conducted a roo count – 2500 approx
– The gas station will have less emission than a black coal plant … why would we want either of these? This statement is a perfect example of their ludicrous argument!
– Agree the turbines aren’t the noisiest part – the cooling stacks are noisier than the turbine engines and the noisiest aspect of the operation is actually the gas pipeline venting – whew, what a relief!

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 11:19 am 28 Apr 08

If the RSPCA reckon there 2500 ‘roos on Block D in Hume then they’re either liars or on drugs.

skaboy12 skaboy12 11:20 am 28 Apr 08

In addition to what is written on here and your letter in the CT.
1. If there were thousands of kangaroos on the site they would be packed side by side with no gaps.
2. You are yet to produce proof that there will be any increased cases of the medical issues you have claimed.
3. You are more likely to hear the garbage trucks before you hear the turbine ‘whine’.
4. You will not smell it over the smell of the landfill, so it won’t really matter.
5. A wind farm will not produce the same energy in the same land footprint, niether will any other alternative energy source.

deezagood deezagood 11:34 am 28 Apr 08

Not my letter in the CT – there is a growing group of us NIMBY cave-folks doing what we can to draw attention to this issue. We actually don’t get the truck noise or any odours at all – because the wind direction tends to go the other way. This is actually good news for us from an emission/noise perspective but apparently not so great for Isaacs, Swinger Hill, O’Malley and Wanniasa. I also realise the gas power plant is probably a fait accompli (given the large profit factor, political gains, already-endorsed land re-zoning etc…) but residents deserve to know what they have coming.

My last word on this – hope to see all commentators there tonight.

skaboy12 skaboy12 11:35 am 28 Apr 08

And further to your response (read lies) to Deano.

From the environmental impact report
‘While the grassy areas are grazed by kangaroos and rabbits, the predominantly
introduced groundcover over the majority of the study area would limit the potential
of the area as feeding habitat for woodland or grassland birds. The potential of the
site to provide habitat for small animals such as reptiles is limited by the lack of
environmental attributes such as rock (embedded or surface), spider holes, cracks in
the groundlayer or fallen timber.
It is highly unlikely that any threatened flora species occur within the study area. The
area is highly modified and lacks the diversity of native forb species that may
indicate the presence of uncommon or threatened native plants. The lack of a range
of suitable habitat attributes and the substantial nature of previous disturbance
diminishes the potential of the site to contain any threatened fauna species.’

‘The study area is substantially modified by past land uses and does not contain any
features of high biodiversity value. Proposed development would impact directly only
on an area of degraded native pasture, dominated by introduced grasses and weeds
and, subject to appropriate site environmental management during construction, is
unlikely to significantly affect the adjacent drainage line through the site.’

Also the RSPCA did a wildlife count on the entire area surrounding Hume and the landfill site, you are misrepresenting the truth by trying to claim this count was just for the site in question. I have confirmed this with the RSPCA with a simple 5 minute phone call.

Please stop spreading your lies and propaganda. The project will end up going ahead anyway.

p1 p1 12:12 pm 28 Apr 08

5. A wind farm will not produce the same energy in the same land footprint, niether will any other alternative energy source.

You are of course including the pipeline, and refining facilities in this assesment?

Thumper Thumper 12:33 pm 28 Apr 08

Wind generated power will always be supplimentary simply because the propellor cannot be technologically advanced in any way.

Put simply, a propellor cannot be improved upon.

it’s nice to think that it could, but sadly, we are wasting our time with wind power.

Solar and hydro seem to be the way forward.

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