Just how “green” will the power be that runs the Kurnell desalination plant?
Cronulla MP Malcolm Kerr and Water Minister Nathan Rees have been arguing the point since the selection of a company to supply “100 per cent renewable energy” from a wind farm at Bungendore, near Queanbeyan.
The debate appears “gridlocked,” with Mr Kerr accusing the Government of deceit and the minister offering him a lesson in how an electricity grid works.
“The announcement is just more wind by the Government as the power actually consumed by the plant will not be carbon neutral,” Mr Kerr said.
“Wind power generated by the wind farm will be delivered into the electricity supply grid and combined with that sourced from traditional coal-fired power plants. The notice of determination issued in November by the Department of Planning states very clearly that the plant will be powered by connection to the electricity supply grid.
“The major proportion of energy from the grid is 94 per cent generated by coal-fired power and is not green, purple or any other colour.”
Mr Kerr said the Government could purchase as much “green power” as it liked, but could not escape the fact it was mixed into the grid.
An independent panel appointed by the Government and chaired by Emeritus Professor Rolf Prince advised more could have been done to assess options for greenhouse gas reduction. More analysis of the market for renewable energy should also have been undertaken. “The panel concluded that this was a missed opportunity to demonstrate best practice,” he added.
Mr Rees said Mr Kerr had embarrassed himself with his “ludicrous commentary”.
“I have had occasion, recently, to explain how this works to small children they have no trouble grasping it,” he said. “Electricity generators produce electrons which are fed into the transmission grid. The grid transports this electrical power all around the country through wires.”
By Murray Trembath
30 May 2008
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