The ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions on the rise

johnboy 23 July 2009 19

Simon Corbell has announced that Canberra is not doing so well on the greenhouse front:

    Key findings in the ACT Greenhouse Gas Inventory included:

    — emissions in the ACT in the financial year 2005-06 totalled 4.02Mt CO2-e. This figure is only a very small percentage of national net greenhouse gas emissions (0.7%) but it is a 2.4% increase from the previous year;
    — the growth in ACT emissions of 25.2% on 1990 levels and 10.4% above 2000 levels is significantly higher than the national average;
    — the increase in ACT electricity consumption has largely been in the commercial sector; and
    — electricity consumption per residential customer has decreased. This reduction is due to actions such as fuel-switching to natural gas. In 2005-06, per capita emissions in the ACT were 12.0 tonnes per person.

But bear in mind that compared to the lights turning on for another million people in China or India this is of such miniscule significance as to be almost imperceptible.

UPDATED: A day later the Greens have bestirred themselves to profess disappointment.

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19 Responses to The ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions on the rise
Digga Digga 10:02 am 24 Jul 09

I also switched most of the globes at home to energy efficient ones. Seems the ACT Government was doing the same with all the street lamps around the ACT. Chief Minister’s press release last year 3rd August 2008:

They’ve switched 7,700 globes and saved 3,000 tonnes of emissions annually (about 700 cars).
Great going. However, we’ve run out of street lights to switch now though and it’s piddly numbers compared to the turbines.


Digga Digga 8:04 pm 23 Jul 09

I planted a few trees, including the gum I was given when I became an Aussie Citizen last year. Apparently it’ll be a big ‘un; good for carbon sinking. 🙂

housebound housebound 3:55 pm 23 Jul 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

… farting into a cyclone,…

Now there’s an idea. Something along the lines of whether all the traffic in the world starting off at the same time and in the same direction would affect Earth’s rotation.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 2:13 pm 23 Jul 09

Instead of worrying about hugely expensive technologies that make about the same real difference as farting into a cyclone, let’s spend all the money on green research and technology planting trees. An added bonus is it will keep people off the dole.

Digga Digga 1:41 pm 23 Jul 09

Great points, so Pandy’s right but it’s all so late in the day, how many people switched to power hungry flat screen TVs and only now is a star efficiency rating introduced and manufacturers didn’t have to comply with any kind of energy consumption limits?

I’ve switched to energy efficient light globes, because you can’t buy normal ones any more and how much do I save that way? Half a car, I doubt it. The Government’s own replacement of all street lighting with energy efficient was around a 1 or 2,000 tonne saving a year. Whoopee. Wow.

And the solar power station? It has to be co-located with gas-fired generation! It’s not enough power for clean energy to 10,000 homes when you have to fire up turbines too; it’s a partial solution at best. Parsons Brinkerhoff pointed this out last year in ActewAGL’s feasibility study (who incidentally want the big gas-fired power station at Williamsdale and presumably want the solar facility alongside either at Williamsdale itself or the former Ingledene Forest site the Government was “consulting” on earlier this year – as if the site at Kowen Forest near Queanbeyan was a realistic option when all of ActewAGL’s infrastructure is going south-side (Williamsdale sub-station, high voltage transmission lines to Theodore, 600MW gas-fired power station at Williamsdale) etc.

housebound housebound 10:18 am 23 Jul 09

Simon got a tad upset when the Greens voiced their disapproval:

(We know these tiffs are just for show, but it is fun to watch them try to convince us.)

grasshopper grasshopper 9:02 am 23 Jul 09

It takes 10% of the power generated through a gas fired system just to cool the computer banks, also this varies greatly relative to ambient temperatures.
The biggest problem here is the inversion layer of the atmosphere which actually condenses the pollutants and therefore the overall effects and is the most important component. Try changing that?

caf caf 10:56 pm 22 Jul 09

…and the power that would be used by the computers in other data centres that are being replaced by these ones would otherwise be generated how? The computers aren’t being installed solely to turn gas-fired electricity into heat.

Pandy Pandy 10:36 pm 22 Jul 09

Hey Digga, The ACT Government could ban ACs in new homes and ensure all applicances ar3 5 star rated. Including those big TVs.

Digga Digga 10:26 pm 22 Jul 09

caf: the gas-fired turbines are to provide power solely to the computer systems in the data centre; not to generate clean energy for use on the grid and in your home as an off-set to the coal fired units being consumed via the grid in all our existing use.

caf caf 10:20 pm 22 Jul 09

It’s entirely demand driven. Every kilowatt-hour that’s produced in one power station is a kilowatt-hour that doesn’t have to produced in another.

Digga Digga 10:19 pm 22 Jul 09

johnboy: I thought you may also be interested in the Government’s own internal report obtained under FOI last year commenting on this fact (specific document reference available on request!) :
“Clean Energy

The gas fired powered station is more efficient than coal, but it cannot be stated that the power station will give a “positive impact in terms of green house gas emissions”. The development includes an overall increase in energy demand for the ACT as a result of the data centre which is energy hungry. The data centre will therefore increase energy demand and green house gas emissions from existing levels.”

ACTPLA’s approval of the project stated:
“The natural gas cogeneration energy supply has been verified by the proponent as a more sustainable option than powering the same data centres using grid electricity.
Whilst the ACT Government is committed to reduction in the effects of power use on climate change through “Weathering the Change – ACT Climate Change Strategy”, the scope of this development application does not give basis to refuse or warrant conditions to alter the application from what is proposed. ACTPLA does not have scope to determine an application based on the proposed use of particular forms of power.”

So, I repeat: 50,000 cars is a SHED LOAD OF CARBON. ACTPLA didn’t do anything about it and neither can we. The rest of the effort to save the world (if it needs saving, clearly we deem it doesn’t) is futile.

Digga Digga 10:05 pm 22 Jul 09

If they were to substitute gas-fired for coal, sure that argument holds. Given they’re not substituting and creating a new source; it’s additive.

Addison Addison 8:56 pm 22 Jul 09

How much has population increased across the same period?

johnboy johnboy 8:46 pm 22 Jul 09

Digga it’s very simple so try to keep up.

Gas fired locally generated electricity is massively less greenhouse intensive than coal fired interstate electricity with transmission losses.

You might not like the local emissions but try and engage your brain.

housebound housebound 8:44 pm 22 Jul 09

Does anyone know why a 2005-06 audit took so long to release?

Digga – are you saying the power station/data centre will be in the top 1000 and therefore be paying a carbon tax? I wonder how that affects their financial projections.

Digga Digga 8:42 pm 22 Jul 09

So you think it’s a good idea to add greenhouse gas emissions on that scale?

Calwell Resident Calwell Resident 8:25 pm 22 Jul 09

Close Digga “MAJOUR FLOGS” more like it

Digga Digga 7:20 pm 22 Jul 09

Yep, well done our smart leaders where in the commercial sector they have approved the gas-fired power station/data centre at Hume, to output 187,000 tonnes of CO2 per year = equivalent to 50,000 cars.

To be the most polluting facility in the ACT and in the top 1,000 polluters nationally (Senator Penny Wong pointing out that anything over 125,000 tonnes = top 1,000 needing permits under ETS):,25197,24014870-30417,00.html

Forget your light globe changing at home or your multi-unit dwellings/urban infill. Not a chance in playing catch-up. Forget your ActewAGL Greenchoice too. Those customers paying over the odds to off-set with renewable energy save about 19,000 tonnes per year = equivalent to about 4,500 cars:


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