THE rest of the world is moving rapidly from fossil fuels, meeting an ever-increasing amount of energy demand through solar, wind, pumped hydro and other forms of storage.
In the Hunter, we can seize the opportunities this presents to create sustainable jobs and energy. This diversification from coal needs to be fair and planned.
Instead, we're being forced down the same old path. Angus Taylor's proposal to publicly fund a gas-diesel power plant in Kurri would keep us wedded to fossil fuels and the uncertainty that entails.
The proposed project doesn't stack up economically ("Snowy Hydro defends Kurri plant against critics", Herald, 15/7), and may lose $3 billion over 20 years. It is at odds with the global commitment to keeping global warming to less than 1.5 degrees. And it is incompatible with NSW government policies that would see our state emerge as a renewable energy super power.
Earlier this year, NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean said "you'd be mad to use gas" to meet energy demand as the state's coal-fired power stations close. "People defending old technologies are the equivalent of defending Blockbuster in a Netflix world," he said.
It's time we allowed the experts - including the Australian Energy Market Operator and Energy Security Board - to chart our course to a secure future.
James Whelan, Hamilton East
Renewables pay their way
PETER Devey again cites inaccurate figures in his anti-renewables campaign when he claims pumped hydro plants can store only enough energy for "one quarter of a day", ("Costly gamble on renewables", Letters, 15/7).
That comes to six hours a day. But guess what, Peter? The engineers who design these things actually know how long nights last. Hence the Oven Mountain plant currently in progress off the Macleay River is designed for 12 hours storage and the minimum for smaller plants is eight hours. This of course is additional to the free energy stored every time it rains.
Michael Gormly, Islington
Waste of taxpayers' money
DANIEL Westerman has recognised that our grid has to move to accommodate 100 per cent renewables.
This is very welcome and a sign of how rapidly the situation is changing. It was only a year ago that the AEMO was saying that the grid could only cope with 75 per cent renewables and that generation above that would have to be capped.
Unfortunately he also appears to support a new peaking gas plant at Kurri. Most of the experts agree that peaking gas plants will be needed in a firming capacity for some time to come but no one has explained why we need to build another plant at great expense in a location with no existing gas supply when the existing plants are not being used to anything like capacity.
Battery and inverter technology is progressing rapidly and even now can react more quickly to grid fluctuations than this proposed plant which will take 30 minutes to reach capacity.
Taxpayers' money should not be wasted on this folly.
Lynn Benn, Mulbring
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Fired up over angst at pits
BEFORE moving to the coal dust-infused atmosphere of the Hunter Valley 20 years ago I lived in Alaska where heat through the long winters came from wood fires with the occasional infusion of soft coal gleaned from local beaches.
During this time, 40 or so unfiltered cigarettes were part of the daily ritual. Even when that habit was abandoned the stoves burned on. After a few years of living here without wood heating I developed asthma. Go figure. "Stop burning wood, get an electric fire", (Topics, 16/7), may not be the solution to all breathing problems. Then again, I love the smell of wood smoke in the morning, it smells like warmth.
Peter Ronne, Woodberry
Rudd did us all a favour
PETER Devey (Short Takes, 15/7) it was the media, not Kevin Rudd, who said he secured more Pfizer doses.
Rudd's letter to the PM (widely available) confirms this. Acting for Australian US-based businessmen who saw the bungled negotiations and offence caused to Pfizer executives by junior Australian bureaucrats, Rudd repaired this damage. Something Morrison hadn't bothered to do and now informed by Rudd that respectful representations from the PM could secure more doses. Peter, political bias is no excuse for no or inaccurate research.
Colin Fordham, Lambton
Security needed at centres
WHEN visiting my local shopping centre, I noticed a number of people entering and exiting the centre not wearing masks. I spoke with a number of staff within the centre and asked if they served people without masks and was told they were unable to decline service to anyone as per their employers instruction which is quite understandable given the employers duty of care for its employees.
Given the centre only has around 12 small shops with the exception of the supermarket with all shops on one level, I believe if a security guard was employed by centre management at the entry point (one entry and one exit) to enforce conformance to NSW law during this period and ensure all entering the centre sign in by either of required methods would also eliminate the need for everyone to sign in and out of the minor number of shops and given the small area of the centre most customers are in contact at some time during their visit.
Surely, a security guard that ensures all guidelines are met along with the tracing abilities will reduce frustration and offer further protection to all concerned and perhaps in the short term could be introduced in all suburban shopping centres where only a small number of shops occupy these shopping centres.
Peter Mullins, Rankin Park
Jab flexibility warranted
THE government is not permitting the Pfizer jab if the AstraZeneca jab has been given for the first jab. The government's reason for this is said to be based on medical advice that initial scientific tests were inconclusive. If you seek details of the medical advice you will be referred to your GP. The GPs will advise that they must follow government guidelines and the government is the source for all the medical advice. Other countries are mixing and switching to Pfizer. No wonder there is vaccine hesitancy.
John Burke, New Lambton
PM should show compassion
WE are all proud of being Australian and proud of our constitution of caring and supporting Australian citizens.
What a disgrace this Morrison government has allowed Australian citizens to be stranded overseas whilst allowing foreigners access to Australia. The government should provide seats on our supposedly Australian carrier as a priority. The privilege of being Australian is also having a government that supports you all things being legal.
Gerry Mohan, Shoal Bay
OH wouldn't it be lovely ... if once, just once, Liberals and Labor worked together for the good of Australia without trying to politicise every decision about COVID. Really, it is hard enough without this negativity.
Betsy Watson, Swansea
I AM proud of the Australian people in their attempts to comply with coronavirus restrictions. Waiting six hours for a test three times a week is unbelievable, but some people have done that. People are waiting six weeks for a jab, and longer. The general public are doing everything they are told to do as soon as they can. Who is dragging the chain then?
Bill Slicer Tighes Hill
SURELY I'm not the only one totally over the COVID "blame game"? Who cares, the situation is what it is. Perhaps we need to channel Rudyard Kipling? "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too" and so on. Keep strong, Newcastle.
Maureen Dearing, Newcastle West
RE Frank Matzanke's text, (Short Takes, 15/7), about Sydney people being barred from the third State of Origin; there is a rumour circulating that Sydneyites were scattered around local establishments whilst Tim Tzsyu was boxing.
Bryn Roberts, New Lambton
NICK Smit, (Short Takes, 15/7), I agree, I went through a similar process to apply for booking at the new Belmont hub for vaccination. Alas, no response, confusion also. I drove down, no one wanted to assist me with any information.The security guard tried to be helpful to be fair. Guess I will rock up on Monday and try my luck! Any suggestions?
Nick Maguire, Redhead
TO those demanding the NRL be shut down because players are privileged and overpaid. You will be happy too that ancillary staff, security, caterers, cleaners, transport, cameramen, commentators etc. are laid off and require government assistance. They are employees, just like shop assistants, waiters etc. Blinkers off might be a suggestion.
Kim Harding, Carrington
SO Scotty from announcements has a background in marketing and advertising? Certainly see why he was moved on from that gig.
Chris Peters, Newcastle
JOHN Tierney's opinion piece ("Party flip; Closing ALP voter gap seems bridge too far", Opinion, 14/7) about the problems with the Labor Party and in particular, the 2019 federal election omitted one important point: the (much deserved) unpopularity of Bill Shorten.