Making a power point

Lismore City Council will write to TransGrid, the state government authority for powerlines, voicing concerns about the company’s plan to build a 330kV power line from Bonshaw, west of Tenterfield, to Lismore.

Cr Simon Clough moved a successful motion for Council to call on TransGrid to engage consultants to independently assess electricity demand management, energy efficiency and local power generation options for the NSW North Coast.

“We should be questioning the assumptions on which TransGrid has based their proposal and whether we need transmission lines of this scale,” Cr Clough said.

Cr Clough questioned the validity of Country Energy’s projection that there would be a 46% increase in electricity demand by 2017.

“With overall energy consumption, electricity consumption patterns are actually reducing across the state, and with this figure of $227million to build the power line, let’s look at the possibility of what could be done,” Cr Clough said. “18,000 homes could have photovoltaic cells for that cost. We’re talking about a big scale of operation here and one that needs to be independently looked into.

“We also need to look at the specifics of the Far North Coast. We’ve had an explosion of photo voltaic cells on roofs and solar hot water.

“Nor have they taken sufficient account of Metgasco (the company looking into gas exploration around Casino).”

Cr Vanessa Ekins said she agreed it was worth asking TransGrid to reassess.

“An increase of more than 40% does seem outrageous, surely with appropriate regulation of demand management and increased use of solar panels it won’t be that high,” Cr Ekins said.

Cr Isaac Smith pointed out that the projections had been made before the NSW government introduce its gross feed-in tariff for solar electricity.

Council voted 6-4 (Crs John Chant, Neil Marks, Graham Meineke and Peter Graham against; Cr Gianpiero Battista absent) to write to TransGrid, the NSW Minister for Energy, NSW Finance Minister and Treasurer as shareholding ministers of TransGrid.

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