This is part of a letter sent by the Habitat Association to the Minister for State and the Central Coast April 2011
Our group has an interest in the environs of mankind that take in the Arts, culture and a range of Applied sciences including urban and regional planning, architecture and landscape.
Our current members have a wide interest in the Arts, Planning architecture, social planning and the interaction of the natural environment with the human environment.
We believe that by government spending money on better public transport services, less congestion will be evident on our roads and the use of unsustainable fossil fuels will be marginally lessened by fewer cars on our roads.
One of our core reasons to promote public transport is to create efficiencies through larger amounts of people being able to commute to destinations for shopping and for work, and at the same time reducing individual carbon foot prints.
Fortunately, NSW has a relatively good electric rail network which can transport people efficiently. The power to drive this network is currently tied to electric power produced by a relatively inefficient power source produced by coal fired power stations. These power stations produce large emissions of CO2 which is considered a greenhouse gas. Fortunately, with little initial cost, the rail network can be switch from this source of electric power at the stroke of a pen to a zero emissions power source by simply having State Rail buy the electric power from renewable sources already established in the State and/or Country.
This move will enable one of the largest components of the public transport system in NSW to be carbon neutral within months.
These sources of climate change friendly power have been slowly increasing in recent times. With the increase of solar cells on roofs and other green power initiatives driven by the Renewable Energy Credits (REC) program initiated by the Federal Government, large amounts of renewable energy is coming onto the market, with more projects planned.
The Association believes that this switch to green power for the whole rail network in New South Wales (NSW) would show a firm commitment by the NSW government to reduce carbon emissions. We believe that this new State government with this new policy will establish its credentials for using and producing renewable energy in NSW.
In addition, we understand that renewable energy generation must increase in the State for NSW to meet its renewable energy targets.
To help meet these targets the Habitat Association would further encouraged the State Government to build on the renewable energy for rail in NSW initiative by providing seed funding for new installations of green power throughout the State to at least equal to the deficit in green power proposed to be used by the rail networks in NSW. This could be done by budgeting money to support programs to increase the amount of renewable energy produced in NSW over the next 4 years.
We believe these initiatives could be achieved in partnership with Infrastructure Australia, a Rudd/Gillard government initiative to identify bottleneck and increase efficiencies related to infrastructure.
We believe that planning for climate change is of utmost importance.
We have been presenting papers and writing letters to governments for some years now on renewable and sustainable energy for Australia. We have sent four letters to the last two Federal Governments on the subject and received detailed and illuminating replies from several Federal Government Ministries.
We have completed a paper that gives a broad brush insight into the uptake of the renewable energy sector in Australia. The paper shows South Australia leading the field in renewable power generation with nearly 20 % of their power generated from renewable sources. The paper indicates that Victoria closely follows South Australia’s example.
To further this effort, we would like to suggest that a discussion group on the Central Coast be established to investigate the possibility of forming a group to introduce a renewable energy industry on the Central Coast of New South Wales.
We envisage that the scope of the first group would be to discuss the formation of a new task group and its scope of operation, which will be related to the promotion of a renewable energy sector on the Central Coast and possibly the lower Hunter to augment existing power generation in New South Wales, Australia.
(See also attached document from University of Newcastle:
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