It was disappointing to see the letter from local member Greg Hunt advocating reticulated natural gas for Phillip Island, as well as attacking the State Energy Minister for advocating energy efficient appliances.
Yes, natural gas has an “interim” role to play in energy supply, for fast-start electricity generation and industry.
Yes, when burnt it produces less CO2 than brown coal generated electricity, but when compared to renewably-powered solar hot water and high COP energy-efficient split system heating units, it is less energy efficient, more expensive long term, and is still a fossil fuel being burnt which is far more damaging to the environment.
Having owned a solar hot water system for six years, providing for a family of five, the annual CO2 emissions and running costs are less than using natural gas (or LPG) for water heating, and better for the environment.
Using solar panels to boost the solar hot water in winter and provide heating has also reduced our CO2 emissions and heating costs, and it’s also much better for the environment.
Reticulated natural gas is no longer an “integral” or “essential” service for residential use and the wholesale cost does not include any environmental cost.
Also, in Wonthaggi the annual supply charge is around $250 before any gas is used, an important detail not mentioned in the letter.
As Federal Environment Minister, Mr Hunt would do a much greater service to Phillip Island residents by advocating and supporting the local rollout of renewable energy, solar hot water, energy efficient appliances, retrofitting poorly designed houses and working alongside the State Energy Minister for the benefit of local residents.
John Coulter, Energy Auditor, Cape Paterson.