No job too hard
An open letter to BVSC general manager Peter Tegart.
Dear Mr Tegart,
I am writing to you in many capacities to express how lucky we are to have such a wonderful and dedicated work crew in Tathra.
Nothing is ever a problem for the guys and they are ahead of the game.
Before I could ask “Skippy” to schedule in a beach clean before the Tathra Wharf to Waves in January, it was already organised.
The same story applied with the George Bass Marathon.
Then, during the 150 year celebrations, the town looked more immaculate than it normally does.
I work in Tathra and see large numbers of tourists come through the doors, and so many spontaneously comment on how clean and wonderful our town looks - and how lucky we are to live where we live.
I tell the boys when I see them what a great job they do, but it is just as important that you know how much we appreciate them.
Councillor Pat Campbell’s defence of Wayne Sartori, Bega Valley Shire Council’s group manager of infrastructure, waste and water, against alleged disparaging remarks by ratepayers, might be taken seriously if it wasn’t so laughable (BDN, 13/4).
While Cr Campbell is right to maintain that meaningful public debate should focus on “the issue” and “not the person”, that standard can only and will only be respected when it is observed by all parties to the debate, including Mr Sartori.
As many readers of the BDN will be aware, the Civic Centre Action Committee isn’t the first group in our community whose sensitivities have been offended by our Wayne.
In January of last year, he upset residents of Bemboka by implying they were looking for “special treatment” after they had had the temerity to complain about the state of their roads and the failure of the council to keep its promises to upgrade same.
A couple of months before that, he succeeded in alienating many in the Merimbula community, accusing it of being “unappreciative” of the council’s efforts to maintain the towns roads and accusing “hoon” elements within the community of causing some of the damage.
In my view, by suggesting that ratepayers should be “thankful” for having Mr Sartori as an employee of the council and that he “is objective, forthright and instils confidence”, Cr Campbell simply succeeds in making himself look silly, while revealing just how much catching up he really has to do within the community.
In the dark
Heavens to Betsy John McKerral (BDN 5/4)!
I do hope you are also tilting at the windmills of Spain, Portugal, Germany and goodness knows how many other advanced European and Asian countries - oh, and even the US - currently powering away using wind-generated electricity.
Perhaps they just haven’t realised how impractical and unworkable it all is.
I would have been completely in the dark too - were it not for you (and my stand-alone, off-grid solar system).
You know, I’ve never had to use the generator.
And on this subject, Donald Sadoway, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has developed a grid-level battery storage system capable of storing energy for up to 200 houses – two megawatt hours - in a 12-metre shipping container!
The most important energy we use, he says, is stored between our ears.
I think the future just got brighter - check him out on TED.com.
John McKerral (BDN, 5/4), in his attack on wind power, has highlighted the main problem with electrical energy.
That is, it cannot be stored.
It has to be used when it is generated or transformed into another form of energy, such as chemical energy in batteries.
NSW has an excess of base-load power, but faces a potential shortfall in peaking power in the future as more people use air conditioning.
The massive investment in upgrading the distribution grid currently underway is required to meet the predicted increase in peak power demand for those few hot days (about 40 per year) when almost everyone wants to turn on an air-conditioner.
Coal-fired power is hopeless at responding rapidly to fluctuations in demand.
Gas turbines are a bit better and hydro is better still, but is in limited supply.
Solar thermal power has great potential because its peak output corresponds to the hottest part of the hottest days.
The trick is to store solar thermal energy for a few hours so that the solar energy captured during the hottest part of the day can be matched with peak evening demand when householders arrive home and start turning things on.
This has been successfully achieved using molten salts stored at high temperatures in large concrete tanks (see Beyond Zero Emissions, www.energy.unimelb.edu.au).
A grid with distributed sources can potentially use wind, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal (with stored heat energy) and hydro-electricity to efficiently match supply from renewables with the variable demands of industry and households.
We need to end the subsidy that fossil fuel sources get by dumping their waste CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere at no cost.
As one who works providing training services in the energy sector, I read John McKerral’s letter to the editor (17/2) with some concern regarding its technical accuracy.
I neither advocate nor oppose the proposal for Twofold Bay; my issue with Mr McKerral is the technical veracity of his argument.
My delay in responding was due to my need to refer his letter to other technical experts in the energy sector so as to be sure of my facts.
The electricity network always has some “spinning reserve” built into it.
A typical coal-fired power station has about 10 per cent spinning reserve to take up any unexpected load on the network (such as the failure of a generator in the network, as happened recently when the Eraring Power Station on the Central Coast failed a few
Wind turbine generators complement the base load generation of the conventional power generation stations.
Yes, winds do ebb and flow, as Mr McKerral points out.
And the remote control stations that operate the wind turbine generators use complex algorithms to harmonise the generation across their various sites such that the total variability of power generation is minimised.
If significant power variation was experienced, then the spinning reserve of the existing network could accommodate it.
There is no need to fire up gas turbine generators “just in case”.
Gas turbine generators are used for peak load demand such as very hot days when everyone turns on their air conditioner.
So does the spinning reserve of the coal-fired power stations negate the CO2 savings of wind generated power?
I say this with confidence by referring to the report: “GHG [Green House Gas] and Cost Implications of Spinning Reserve for High Penetration Renewables, Technical Assessment Report 73 – March 2008” from the CRC for Coal in Sustainable Development.
Quoting from the executive summary: “The often held view that operating larger fossil plants at part load to provide spinning reserve would negate the greenhouse gas emission benefits of wind is false”.
Given that this technical report comes out of the coal industry itself, I doubt it is biased towards wind generators.
The visual amenity of large-scale wind turbine generators is part of a separate and valid debate.
However, let us not simply discount a valid form of clean energy generation on falsehoods about the actual impact upon greenhouse gas reductions.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who made monetary donations to the Rainbow Tie Foundation and also to the businesses in the Bega, Cobargo and Bermagui area who donated auction items for the trivia and auction night that was held at the Cobargo Hotel on March 31.
Your generosity and loving support have left me feeling very humbled and also blessed to finally bring my son Oscar home to such a wonderful community.
A heartfelt thank you to Rob, Angela, David and Barbara, Rosemarie and Clem, Warren and Gordon, for making the trivia night such a wonderful event.
Thanks also to the very generous people who came along and supported Oscar with your exuberant bidding.
The funds raised will go towards Oscar’s ongoing medical costs.
Oscar has had a small glimpse of normality since coming home.
He loves to sit in the shade in his swing and watch the leaves moving on the trees, this being just a glimpse of what a healthy child gets to experience.
Please accept my heartfelt thank you to all the people that live in this wonderful community of ours.
We are blessed.
Kristen Salway and Oscar
Open letter to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
Dr Christoph Ahrens is a highly valued member of our community.
We need for you to realise the great loss and harm his removal would cause.
Christoph is more over-qualified than under.
His German qualifications have enabled him to work in London, teach there, and work in Australia for six years under constant review from his peers.
He is a proven excellent surgeon.
To demand he sit for an exam on paediatrics and spinal surgery, which he will never utilise, means taking him away from us for 12 months minimum.
Isn’t this absurd?
He will have no income during this period to support his family.
Let us talk about the family.
They chose to live in the Bega Valley.
They have built a home here and settled their lovely children into school.
Jennifer Ahrens, his wife, gives her time freely to oncology patients at Bega Hospital.
I benefited enormously from her reiki treatment.
Christoph’s skills are well documented.
People have been distressed and crying at the thought of their “other” knee not being operated by him.
Please take this case on merit and impact in a good way on people’s lives.
Congratulations once again to our Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly.
He announced a leading Australian company, Macmahon Contractors, had been selected to build the 3.5km Bega bypass.
Mr Kelly also announced that his government will fund the entire project, which starts in June this year and will provide 300 jobs.
It was with some surprise while listening to an interview with the ABC’s Tim Holt that Andrew Constance, the Member for Bega, thanked the local community for their campaign, but failed to acknowledge the persistence, determination and leadership of Mr Kelly.
Bega ALP president
Muddying the waters
You have to love the carbon tax brigade headed by Matthew Nott and Labor’s Mike Kelly, who, when questioned about their blinded support for the most ridiculous tax in this country’s history, seek to muddy the water by claiming I don’t support the reduction of emissions nor renewable energy.
In response to Mr Nott’s claims (BDN, 17/4) I have always supported affordable and sensible renewable energy projects like the biomass generator at Eden or the solar farm proposal and I challenge Mr Nott to prove otherwise.
I also challenge him to prove otherwise where I haven’t supported a reduction in carbon emissions.
You would have to be at the bottom of the garden with the fairies if you think that families and small business in our region can financially cop a carbon tax.
IPART has released a report that shows household electricity bills will increase as a result of Federal Labor’s carbon tax and green schemes by $315.
This is in one year alone.
While some who are on very high incomes can afford this increase in the interest of climate change, a majority in our local community can’t.
In the meantime I again call on Labor’s Mike Kelly to demonstrate how the State Government, meaning the NSW taxpayer, will be compensated as a result of their carbon tax policy wiping off billions of dollars in value of the state’s electricity assets.
I’d also again call on Federal Labor to release all Commonwealth treasury analysis that demonstrates the job losses associated with their beloved carbon tax in NSW.
I would remind Mr Nott and Mr Kelly that NSW Treasury analysis shows that NSW will suffer job losses in the order of 30,000 plus people, particularly in the Illawarra and Hunter.
I’d also like Labor to prove the evidence that sea level rise will be 900mm over the next 100 years and why this needs to stifle property development and affect all property owners near the region’s beaches and waterways having had tens of thousands of dollars wiped off the value of their places.
It is time for reasoned and sensible discussion and for some people to be more realistic about their policies and the effect it has on local households.
Mr Nott and Mr Kelly need to explain how much the planet will now cool and how much global emissions will be reduced as a result of Labor’s carbon tax.
What? One degree, three degrees, five?
Member for Bega
Leave judgement to God
After reading the letter “Traditional values” (BDN, 10/4), I wasn’t sure if it was for real or a late April fool’s joke.
Does Ethel Pepper really believe that “most of us are atheists” who can’t wait to turn 18 so we can hit the booze, wipe out our brain cells and poison our livers?
Does she think that Kevin Rudd, as a church-going Anglican, was any better equipped than Julia Gillard to carry out the duties of the Prime Minister?
Maybe she thinks Ms Gillard would be doing a much better job if she was a married Christian.
Nothing makes me angrier than to hear so-called scripture followers pass judgement on others’ personal beliefs and lifestyles.
By all means Ms Pepper, live your life according to the scriptures. Believe it or not most of us do – the 2006 Census found only 0.16 per cent of the Australian belief landscape was made up of atheists.
The many young people I know certainly have not softened their brain by consuming alcohol.
In fact, most of them have healthy livers, are honest, articulate, well-educated citizens who hope to make a difference in the world.
Two of our most beloved Australians, Edward “Weary” Dunlop and Fred Hollows, I believe are both modern-day saints.
One was a professed Christian, the other an atheist.
I firmly believe God had a special place waiting for both of them when they left this world, so let’s leave the judgement to Him
Name withheld by request