IT’S absolutely terrifying to think that a State Government could make a decision that rivals in stupidity the move to build the Victorian Desalination Plant. But the signs aren’t good when it comes to the Napthine Government and it’s ominously non-committal approach to the issue of coal seam gas mining.
Yes, there’s a moratorium in place to stop the mining companies while studies into the impact on ground water are complete, but really, why is CSG mining being considered at all? There are alternative energy options available and they make so much more sense. The most obvious was unveiled last week in sunny Mildura where the 1.5MW Mildura Solar Demonstration Facility was opened. It’s connected to the national grid and provides enough electricity to power up to 500 homes.
The plant is expected to demonstrate the economic feasibility of the technology for utility-scale solar power generation. Plans to expand it to 100MW, featuring around 2000 dishes and providing peak power output sufficient for up to 40,000 homes, are well underway. It’s baffling that Australia, the wide brown land, is only at the demonstration phase when it comes to solar power generation, while other countries, like not-so-sunny Germany, have already proven its viability. Gippsland’s small, highly productive farms must be spared from the risk posed by coal seam gas mining, particularly as there are hundreds of thousands of hectares of barren land just waiting to be used equally as productively.
Editor Nathan Johnston