4 December 2011

Government purchasing more green power than it needs

| johnboy
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The Liberals’ Zed Seselja is making merry with staggering ineptness from the Environment Directorate.

Simon Corbell’s Environment Directorate’s illogical use of environmental offsets was exposed this week, after it was discovered the Directorate purchases 64 per cent more electricity than actually uses. ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said today the admission is another example of Simon Corbell’s environmental tokenism over action.

Normally when Governments buy things they don’t need someone’s mate is making like a bandit and a boat is being quietly backed into that someone’s driveway.

But with this Government it’s hard to rule out ineptness.

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Ok, the committee transcript is now available so we can see what was actually said:

MRS DUNNE: Does that mean, Mr Rutledge, that you bought more power than you

Mr Rutledge: That is correct, Mrs Dunne.
Mr Rutledge: For the purpose of offsetting some of our other energy use.
MRS DUNNE: Who used the power?
Mr Rutledge: When you purchase green power, as you know, Mrs Dunne, in your
home, you might subscribe to 15 kilowatts a day but you might only use eight. So it is
just an overpurchase.

Mr Corbell: So it is an offset for other consumption, such as gas. You cannot buy a
green power product for gas, so you offset your emissions by purchasing additional
renewable energy.

MR SESELJA: But is green power the most cost-effective offset?
Mr Rutledge: We did not do that. As we have spoken about today, the purchase of
green power is a good use of purchasing and supporting renewable energy. That is
why as a directorate we purchased more green power product than we used in

MR SESELJA: Would it not make more sense to purchase 100 per cent green power
and then purchase the most cost-effective offsets to cover your gas use?

Mr Rutledge: That would be one approach.
MR SESELJA: How much cheaper might that be?
Mr Corbell: We would have to provide you with some assessment of that, Mr Seselja.

So you can see it’s less “staggering ineptness” and more “difference of opinion”. The Directorate decided to offset their gas use by sponsoring renewable power (at a cost of $70 tonne–ignoring the fact that if ACTEW makes a profit on this some of the money comes back to the ACT in dividends) rather than buying direct offsets (about $25 a tonne). There are pros and cons on both sides of the argument, but it is not as clear cut as the press release would suggest.

“But with this Government it’s hard to rule out ineptness.”

Hard? Almost impossible I’d say, based on past form.

ACT Government Fail #318.

Re the boat v incompetence question, are they buying it from ACTEW/AGL?

Waiting for some bright spark to chime in and tell us this was all okay, because it was green energy that was purchased and never used, and therefore the environment wasn’t harmed unlike if it’d been fossil fuels.

I-filed said :

Shades of the South Australian “million bucks worth of print cartridges in exchange for Myer vouchers” type ineptness?

One cannot know, but one can wonder.

Shades of the South Australian “million bucks worth of print cartridges in exchange for Myer vouchers” type ineptness?

seems like this story is missing a huge amount of detail – even the link provides little more to give any perspective to the line of questioning and how the Directorate ended up making that statement.

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