In the early 1980s I worked as an engineer with the Electricity Commission of NSW during the rehabilitation of Vales Point A Power Station. The government spent over $1 billion in today's terms, but the station went on to produce virtually no power, was eventually demolished and all the new equipment was sold for scrap.
In the late 1980's I was the project manager for the Munmorah Power Station rehabilitation and, despite spending even more money, the station produced virtually no power. It too was eventually demolished and all the new equipment was sold for scrap. In the early 2000s I did consultancy work for the Playford Power Station rehabilitation project in South Australia with the same result.
In my opinion we have not had a successful power plant rehabilitation in Australia because the projects always grow beyond the government's willingness to pay to finish the job properly.
I believe Liddell power station has always been infamous in the industry, with a lack of maintenance leading to significant plant failures and leaving it with underlying damage to critical components. In my opinion it is in far worse condition than any of the plants mentioned above, but Angus Taylor thinks he can fix it for $300 million of our money ('Feds consider $300m Liddell extension plan', Newcastle Herald 11/2).
He is fantasising again, unfortunately at our expense.
Wayne Bissett, Hamilton South
BREAKING IT TO RESIDENTS
SINCE coming to Newcastle in 1980, I have sought to get to know details of the area. When it comes to Stockton, it seems that early on it was essentially a sandbar at the mouth of the river. The breakwater was built to assist navigation into the harbour, and ships have floundered off the coast near Stockton.
There is a long history of high seas, and hence the possibility of either sand removal or dumping in the area depending on the wave motions at the time.
If Stockton residents want the surfing culture at the beach, then there will always be some erosion and depositing. I believe the vagaries of this will always make the area unstable in some way. If people want the land to be secure, a sea wall is needed either on the coast or by extending the break wall.
In my opinion this is the basic decision that needs to be made, and then a solution must be be found as to the best option to implement it. Sand replacement will not work unless other work is done as well - the choice is for the locals to make. Surfing or a safe land area and not both!
Milton Caine, Birmingham Gardens
TORONTO WON'T BE IGNORED
TORONTO residents were cautiously relieved when Lake Macquarie City Council rescinded the resolution in 2019 to proceed with a speculative, high rise, foreshore development. A vigorous campaign by the community to retain the Bath Street site for public parkland seemed to have been successful.
However, as noted by Robert Ireland (Short Takes, 12/2) the council disappointingly, has not engaged further with the Toronto community. Many residents will now find it particularly galling to learn that the council has voted to spend close to $1 million to purchase a waterfront house in Swansea "to facilitate the extension of Swansea Town Park" ('Council to buy $950K house', Herald 12/2).
I believe the western side of Lake Macquarie is being treated very differently to the eastern side. One only has to drive, cycle or walk from Speers Point through Warners Bay to Eleebana to compare the lakeside facilities those suburbs enjoy to the lack of such in Toronto. Since the council announced its grand plan in 2018 to take scarce foreshore land from our community, there have been two years of well-attended meetings, petitions signed by thousands, letters to the mayor and councillors, letters to the press, and published articles. As 2020 begins, this community will keep reminding Lake Macquarice councillors that they are elected to listen to, communicate with, and serve their total local government area.
Kate Elderton, Toronto
PLANS IN JAPAN WILL PAN OUT
MUCH has been said about the so-called coal-fired power plants mooted for construction in Japan.
There have long been reports that Japan may invest in high efficiency low emission coal (HELE) but the decision has been fraught with concerns over fugitive emissions, the cost and time frame for construction, and the probability that such generators will be stranded assets by the time of commissioning.
Last night I heard from Martijn Wilder, chair of The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), that the Japanese plants will be equally capable of using hydrogen as the energy source as well as coal.
Mr Wilder said that this presents an opportunity for Australia to transition from coal to hydrogen exports.
There are several companies planning to establish hydrogen production facilities including AGL, which plans to produce hydrogen from coal generation, and Mike Cannon-Brookes' plan to build a 10-gigawatt solar farm near Tennant Creek along with 22 gigawatt hours of battery storage to produce hydrogen entirely from renewable energy.
Lovers of King Coal are claiming the Japanese plans as a victory of coal over renewable energy, but they don't acknowledge the real agenda: the global effort to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
Japan will take all the hydrogen Australia can produce and this will boost our economy, GDP and employment as coal slowly diminishes as a tradeable commodity.
There is no victory, though. There is just reality. Anthropogenic global warming is factual and our efforts can make a massive difference to global warming.
Scott Bell-Ellercamp, Clarence Town
PIE IN THE SKY WHEN YOU DIE
THE chocolate eggs are out, ready for Easter. Archaeology reveals we humans have from our earliest days hoped for an afterlife. Perhaps the tombs of Egypt and the terracotta army of China are the best known examples of 'grave good.' The ancient Greeks invented the idea of a soul trapped in the body until death, while further east reincarnation and life after death emerged. Those who hope today for some form of immortal afterlife have plenty to choose from.
Why can't people be satisfied with life on this fantastic planet without hoping for an eternal one, allegedly perfect? I suspect most people pursue religion out of a need for security. True, belief in a deity who gives guides and guards devotees is a great comfort, and being reunited with loved ones after death is a cheerful thought. But is this reality or a delusion? Just in case, enjoy this life as a gift and privilege and help fellow travellers. When you open an Easter egg, be thankful for the certainty of this life.
Neville Aubrey, Wallsend
SHARE YOUR OPINION
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I HAVE absolutely nothing against Queen Elizabeth II and her immediate family (excluding Andrew). Why oh why will an invitation be extended to the Queen's grandson Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton to visit and tour some of the areas in Australia currently badly affected by our current and recent bushfires? Wouldn't it be better to use the monies to be spent on their travels, accommodation and the cost of their caravan of aides usefully? Spend the money on Australian families in the areas they might have been taken to.
Wal Remington, Mount Hutton
WHY do people keep letting the government of the day get away with their explanations of their misuse of taxpayers' money? They treat people like morons and dope heads. If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, it is a rat - or should I say, rort? Mr Morrison should release the full report and stop hiding behind saying it's private. We pay for it to be compiled, so we should see it. Simple.
Marilyn Frost, Hamilton North
STEVE Feenen (Short Takes, 11/2) I have always abided by the umpires decision. I do not argue with the fact that the government was re-elected. I merely stated the fact that 42 per cent is not a majority or a mandate to do what you want, unless you studied at the Coalition school of economics.
Brian Burgess, Floraville
WHAT a pleasant change to read Greg Harborne's letter (Letters, 8/2). So refreshing to read something positive rather than the doom and gloom of late. As he stated, we all have a democratic right and personally think his views are spot on and he makes a very valid point about Labor having a better chance of winning an election if they were to shake off the Greens. And yes, I also do think that Donald Trump will romp home.
Col Parkins, Wallsend
IN reply to John Hollingsworth (Short Takes, 11/2), who suggested that the impending solar minimum would change our views on whether global warming was actually man made; I'm not sure where you got your information from, but if you read the following one of NASA's blogs, from the horse's mouth you will find that the sun's cycles will have very little effect on human induced global warming. Please get your facts correct.
Jayne Sharpe, Maryland
NEWS from Japan this week should put paid to the dreams of "cheap renewable energy" powering our future prosperity. Japan will build up to 22 new coal-fired plants in the next 5 years to ensure reliable and cheap electricity. They must have missed the "renewables are cheaper" memo. Why didn't they follow the advice of transition advocates and simply read a 200 page book, or "get politicians, unions, scientists and industry together to devise a plan"? Perhaps achieving a fundamental shift in how industry is powered is not so simple, and the renewable technology not quite as promising or cheap as people would like to believe?
Scott Hillard, New Lambton
HOW bad is cricket going when a cheat is their hero?