Daily updates from DANNY DESAL broadcasting from the INQUIRY in Pakenham
Today was truly an ELECTRIFYING day at the Inquiry with 3 hours spent on the power supply options to the desal plant. Danny continues to be worried by the push from other affected groups such as Cardinia Shire and the Power Grid Option Group to either put it underground or build the gas fired power plant on site on the coast. Now Danny fully understands the call to put the power underground but to push for a power plant to be built on the coast smacks a little bit NIMBY perhaps!
Danny starting to get agitated !
Just imagine if all the resources opposing this plant had been focusing on stopping the plant being built in the first place? NO PLANT: NO POWER & NO PIPE! However its clear that the desal plant is being positioned as creating benefits to the local area including the additional power supply that the area needs anyway. Discussions included brown outs that we are all so familiar with and how this will fix it. SP Ausnet may have had plans to upgrade the power anyway but the desal plant has come in over the top so they will likely not be needed. The Agricultural scientist - Raymond Phillips - confirmed that the least impact option on agriculture would be underground and they haven’t measured “intangible” such as dislocation of homestead, or the trauma of intrusion as it’s difficult to put a dollar value on it. Something in life are priceless perhaps??? There was also an admission that perhaps the rehabilitation of land from BassGas has not been up to scratch and better control over contractors and project management could have helped!
Now Danny needs to check but the Government commitment to using recyclable energy does appear to have been further refined or maybe I just missed it in amongst the 1700 pages! The statements today were that the Government has committed to “offsetting the electricity used by the plant & water transfer pipeline” through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Further the “required RECs based on electricity consumption NOT generation“. Now if a gas plant is built and it then provides power back to the grid that is not covered by the RECs. Might be nothing but perhaps Danny was looking too hard!
Allan Wyatt - Landscaper Architect - confirmed his recommendation (which isn’t the same as the proponent’s) for installation of steel poles and not the lattice towers on all the above ground areas from Woolamai to Tynong North. They also continue to claim that you won’t be able to make out the desal plant from the “magnificent” view as you come around from Anderson roundabout. Panel member Greg Sharpley did use the term “magnificent” in his question so they do see what we all see. The usual spiel about night lighting that won’t be like what we see tonight from the sample plant and also re-hiding the plant with proper mounding around the site and trees to cover power poles. Danny did feel like the Panel was asking very pertinent questions and really gave the impression that they had seen the area and appreciate the beautiful coast as we do.
Long day not finishing until 6pm and tomorrow they are putting up 4 experts so starting earlier at 9.30am and likely to still run through until 6pm. Danny isn’t dropping off just yet though and hoping you find these updates slightly interesting. Finding the highpoints is hard as they are far and few between.