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Canberra: solar power « Previous | |Next »
September 3, 2008

A sign of the times, Canberra may soon have a $141million solar power station capable of generating enough electricity for more than 10,000 homes after a pre-feasibility study last night ''gave the project the nod''.

The study, commissioned by the ACT Government and ActewAGL, looked at a 22MW-capacity plant using solar thermal trough technology, and suggests a gas-fired generator be added as an auxiliary system. It estimated that it would cost $141million to build and about $2million a year to run, while powering 10,000 homes with 80GWh a year. It could be operational by 2012.

The project will require a substantial level of subsidy from the ACT and federal governments. The report suggests up to 57per cent or $80million would have to come from taxpayers to make the project viable. However, it is too small to be economically viable. Doubling the size of the plant would make it 27 per cent cheaper.

When will the ACT shift to a gross feed-in tariff for solar power on household rooftops?

Something sure has shifted as I remember ActewAGL being deeply opposed to solar power last year and arguing against it in public.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:56 AM | | Comments (6)
Comments

Comments

The only thing that has "shifted" is the foundations of the ACT Government as an election looms!

Suddenly the ACT Government is flashing its green credentials at passer-bys!

The same colours it so disingenuously raised as a justification for slaughtering hundreds of kangaroos!

Won't it and the other useless ACT political parties get a shock when tens of thousands of Canberrans scrawl "no cull" on their ballot sheets!

Paul,
is the solar power station proposal just a beat up for the election?

Absolutely, Nan!

Embarrassed by the uproar over gas-fired power stations in peoples' back-yards and hundreds of slaughtered kangaroos staining the nation's capital, this Government is flailng about trying to show it cares about the environment - cheaper registration for green cars being another example.

But as any seasoned political commentator will tell you, the ACT Government is not eco-minded because there are no votes in it.

This is a Government determined to cling to power and, obviously, the only way for that to happen is for people to vote for it and the issues that appeal to voters are not green ones but:

"aw, aw, had to wait in A & E at Woden Hospital for 10 minutes before being treated for injuring myself in a road crash. Didn't think I had that much to drink"!

Paul,
solar power is a good idea. I presume the Federal Government would come to the party if the proposal survives the election.

Why is ActewAGL so opposed to home rooftop photovoltaics with freed in tariffs. Because ActewAGL want to ensure that they are the sole producers of power in the ACT?

Nan,
The Canberra Times says it's not a bad pre-election announcement, either. The plan is visionary, and speaks of a Government unafraid to make the necessary investments to ensure greater environmental sustainability.

What a shame, then, that it resembles something hastily drawn on the back of paper napkin rather than a well researched, fully costed proposal capable of rigorous scrutiny and assessment by politicians, Treasury economists and solar energy researchers. The study on which Stanhope based his announcement is the work of a multinational planning, engineering and construction organisation (Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia). The title of the 100-page document ,''Solar Power Plant Pre-feasibility Study'', hints at the flimsiness of the findings, but its many assumptions and provisos make it more akin to a hastily conceived blue-sky research document than something that might serve as the basis for a feasible, economically viable plan.

It says that the study was commissioned in part by ActewAGL, which also raises doubts
whether the identification of a solar thermal generation facility (together with a gas-fired auxiliary generator) as the outfit best suited to the ACT's unique needs, geography and climate was influenced more by commercial considerations than by any particular desire to identify the best renewable energy scheme possible.

Indeed it is a good idea, Peter, but the fact it is put forward by hollow men in a hollow Government detracts from its blinding benefit!