Power production a load of hot air

Metgasco's revelation that it may not pursue the approved 30MW Richmond Valley Power Station (RVPS) shows its commitment to the local community as a load of hot air.

As the NSW Government has issued a production lease to Metgasco based on the RVPS Major Project approval, it is duplicitous for the company to now say they are unlikely to go ahead with the original plan. If there was any lingering perception that Metgasco was pursuing its gas development for local energy production, these are clearly negated with its latest project downgrade.

What Metgasco really wants is to export the gas as quickly as it can before a glut on the world market makes gas production unprofitable and leaves stranded assets and jobs. When this happens, it's the community that's left with the cleanup bill.

The decreased electricity demand recognised in Metgasco's statement suggests that the Northern Rivers region's high uptake of solar panels has displaced the need for more dirty fossil fuel power plants. The 2-3MW peak electricity supply Metgasco is now investigating would more capably be provided by solar PV which would not require the high impact infrastructure of pipes, roads and wells necessary in a gas field development. Most importantly, it would not have the negative impacts on water, farmland and climate that a gas field development will.

When it is clear that Metgasco can barely fund its existing operations without more investment, how can it even contemplate building a $50 million power station?

Jill Lyons & Ian Gaillard

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