NSW plans more fossil-fuel power

October 27, 2009 at 3:05 am 1 comment

NSW Premier Nathan Rees launched a government “education program” about climate change in May. Yet it seems the “educators” are the ones most in need of global warming “education”.

The “what you can do in your world” program urged NSW householders to cut carbon pollution by using less energy and switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and electrical appliances.

A television campaign featured black balloons escaping from household appliances — each balloon represented 50 grams of carbon dioxide pollution. A government website for the campaign boasts householders had pledged to save almost 4 million balloons.

What the website doesn’t say is that the government plans to increase NSW’s emissions by billions of “balloons” — canceling out any household efficiency gains many times over.

Public submissions into government plans to build two new coal or gas-fired power stations closed on October 26.

More than likely, the plants will be coal-fired. If approved, they would contribute a further 23.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere a year.

That’s about a 34% rise in the state’s pollution from stationary energy.

Do “what you can do in your world” to cut emissions. But in Nathan Rees’ world new power stations could spew out an extra 466 billion black balloons every year.

Add in the government’s proposed redevelopment of the central coast’s Munmorah coal-fired power station and the estimated extra emissions would come close to 600 billion balloons.

One of the power plants is planned near the existing Bayswater coal-fired power station near Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley. The other is planned at Mt Piper, near Lithgow.

Renewable energy alternatives, such as solar thermal or wind power, are excluded from the government’s proposal.

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW called for the ALP government to abandon plans for the new coal-fired power plants. “To build new coal-fired power stations in the face of dire predictions about the potential impact of climate change on the environment is extremely irresponsible, if not negligent”, it said.

NSW Greens MLC John Kaye denounced the state government’s energy policy at an October 23 protest outside the Financial Review Energy Conference. He said the Rees government energy plan is “driven by corporate profit more than the needs of the community”.

“What is the absolute worst thing we could do for the climate?”, Kaye asked. “While the rest of Australia is distracted by a CPRS that will not reduce carbon pollution and will only make the polluters more wealthy, back here … the NSW government’s been hatching a plan not only to sell-off the existing coal-fired power stations, not only to sell off the retailers, but also to build two new coal-fired power stations.”

“Well this is child abuse. Its not just corrupt, its child abuse. Every child who lives today will inherit not only a degraded environment but also an economy that is addicted, that is sick with its coal”, he said.

As public outrage grew, Rees told the October 19 Sydney Morning Herald the new power-stations would be powered by gas, not coal. However, he has since failed to confirm this and the NSW government planning department still lists the proposed power plants as coal or gas.

Even if the new power stations were gas-fired, it would still increase NSW’s emissions hugely, at a time when climate scientists urge rapid emissions cuts.

“There is only one solution”, Kaye said at the October 23 protest. “That solution is in the sunshine and the wind. That solution is in the households for energy efficiency. There are no solutions that involve burning fossil fuels.”

A rally and march against the proposed power stations will take this message to the NSW ALP conference on November 14.

[The ‘No new coal power stations’ protest will meet at 12.30pm, Town Hall on November 14.]


Entry filed under: Coal, coal-fired power station, John Kaye, Nathan Rees.

Copenhagen: mass protests planned NSW power plants – will they be coal or gas?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sabra Ganem  |  October 23, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Long time reader / 1st time poster. Really enjoying reading the blog, keep up the good work. Will definitely start posting more in the future.


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