Edward Mandla
COUNCIL SPEECHES
City of Sydney Decentralised Energy Master Plan

Published On: 25/06/2013

I’m really worried with this plan.

With last week’s announcement on the cancelling of the centrepiece trigeneration project, we were subjected briefings last week on how the dream can stay alive through dozens of pictures of EU initiatives including turning Hunter Valley chicken waste into gas to power the city.

Despite being well meaning, it was long winded, and it sounded extremely hopeful, maybe desperate. It certainly wasn’t convincing.

“I remember as a child mixing paints to get the perfect colour with my Mother warning me that if I fiddle and mix too much I’ll end up with a yucky brown. That’s exactly what’s happened to the city’s renewal energy 2030 plans, they’ve gone to manure.”

The Master Plan details a technology Short List of renewal energy sources, most from out of the local government area, that will be needed to reach targets. These include wind turbines on the roofs of buildings, offshore wind turbines in the Pacific Ocean, wave power, geothermal hot water, tidal energy and renewable gases from chicken and pig waste.

It’s noble but being objective “It’s absolutely bonkers”.

Ironically, the only way to reach the 2030 targets is nuclear power, which seems to be missing from Master Plan analysis of every possible “clean” energy alternative.

I did suggest in briefings that “the Council ought to just come clean, declare the target can’t be reached and set a lower realistic one”, the answer given was “we have to give people hope and a vision of a renewable energy future”.

I can’t see how Councillors can vote for a plan that they know it their hearts isn’t possible and as a result is by definition “absolutely bonkers”

As I said last week in Committees I’m really worried with this plan. It reminds me of a horror movie where the villain just won’t die.

It’s been a big few weeks – a long movie:

  • We’ve cancelled the centerpiece trigeneration project
  • The 2030 targets have been reduced to aspirational
  • We’ve learnt that over $8 Million has been spent on trigeneration without a light bulb being lit
  • We take 77% of our revenue from businesses and waste it on poorly thought out energy plans
  • It’s no wonder there’s talk of amalgamation when we stray from sweating the small stuff; mostly to do with keeping streets safe, clean and with traffic flowing”.
  • Then we needed an extraordinary Council meeting to ask more time for government submissions because we’re distracted by renewal energy and in the tradition of the dog ate my homework – we ran out of time

Just as the horror movie should end, the villan refuses to die lunging at us with amongst other things, turning Hunter Valley chicken waste into gas to power the city.

It is as I said “absolutely bonkers”. It has nothing to do with climate change. We haven’t spoken to any chicken or pig farmers, how do they build a pipeline to connect to gas, is there even gas running down the street in regional Hunter Valley, is there a business case? Is it better to sell the chicken manure on the side of the road at $6 a bag? None of this has been considered but it’s in our plan.

After $8m spent on trigeneration, I was stunned at the briefing we received on the Renewal Energy Master Plan.

Despite being well meaning, it was long winded, and it sounded extremely hopeful, maybe desperate. It certainly wasn’t convincing. I can’t believe we were subjected to dozens of dusty European Union slides on gas projects – no substance – just pictures. Mostly of gas projects at the end of the Russian pipeline where nations naturally are petrified of disruption to supply.

After over $8m being blown already, we were subjected to a presentation that you would accept from a Year 9 student. I’ve already asked the CEO that the standard of the presentations has to be raised. They are not balanced. They are not costed. Most are vapourware. They are unacceptable. I hope Councillors will similarly ask for higher standards.

But Maybe we are tired. Maybe we need to hire more experts. Maybe we need to take a break.

I don’t know how Councillors can vote for a plan that they know it their hearts isn’t possible and as a result is by definition “absolutely bonkers”.



Edward Mandla
June 2013

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