Plans to convert coal fired power plant to wood

Please have your say about Verdant Earth Technologies’ plan to convert Redbank coal fired power plant (which closed in 2014) to a wood fired power plant. If approved it will generate 2 million tonnes of C02 each year. It would also result in increased forest logging and destruction of the habitat of threatened species. It would also add to Singleton’s already dangerous levels of air pollution.

In the midst of climate and extinction emergencies burning wood from native forests is not on. We need a rapid transition to renewable and sustainable energy industries.

Have your say: Submissions to be sent to by September 27th. You need to say you object to the proposed “modification” (DA 183/1993) of the Redbank power station to substitute wood for coal.

You can then give your reasons. Your submission doesn’t have to be long. A paragraph or two in your own words is all that’s needed. Personalised submissions are the most effective.

Nature Conservation Council’s Submission Guide
Redbank Power Station proposal to burn woodchips for electricity (Round 2)

In case you missed the first round of submissions, a company called Verdant Earth Technologies wants to restart a closed coal power station at Redbank (near Singleton) using 850,000 tonnes of dry woodchips per annum (about 1.2 million tonnes of freshly cut wood). The power station will generate over 2 million tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) every year but they claim it will produce zero CO2 and is thus renewable energy.

The NSW Government has changed logging, land-clearing and koala protection rules to enable major intensification of tree removal across the landscape. The company is advertising for wood from the south and north coast and the woodlands of western NSW. Millions of trees will need to be cut every year to feed this furnace.

We need our forests to be left standing for our wildlife and to absorb ever increasing volumes of CO2 as they age, rather than being cut down to replace coal and displace solar. If you submitted during the first round you should ask that the court also refers to your earlier submission as your main concerns re the source of the wood, greenhouse gas emissions, transport implications etc have not changed as a result of the additional information supplied by the proponent.

What to say in your submission

  • We are in climate and extinction emergencies and need to urgently protect our forests and reduce our carbon emissions. Forests are worth more standing: for biodiversity, carbon storage and water catchment integrity.
  • Burning wood produces more CO2 than coal to produce an equivalent amount of electricity. Converting a coal fired power station to wood uses more fuel, generates more pollution, has widespread environmental impacts on forests, and involves tens of thousands of truck movements through rural towns and on local roads.
  • How you and your favourite animals will be affected if they start clearing and logging for woodchips or trucking them through your neighbourhood. The impact of the bushfires on forests near you. This proposal creates a demand that will see more koala habitat destroyed.
  • A NSW Parliamentary Inquiry recently recommended that native forest biomaterial not be classed as renewable energy or eligible for renewable energy credits as it is not a renewable or sustainable source of energy.
  • Singleton Local Government Area has had 10 air quality alerts this September already (as of Sept 12!). Re-opening the Redbank power station will see air quality in the area get worse. Poor air quality is creating serious health issues in the local community. 

Submissions will be part of the evidence in the legal proceedings set down for October 11-15 in the Land and Environment Court, which will decide whether the proposal is only a modification and should be approved. It’s important that the court knows there is widespread anger and concern about this project and its implications for forests, water, wildlife and climate change.

Thank-you for caring enough to submit. Please tell your friends.

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