People, power and tipping points: Anglesea residents want a say

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It is solstice, a turning point – and in Anglesea as well as globally, it is ‘coalstice’. The beginning of the end for using coal to produce electricity. The 77th Sustainable Hour on 17 June 2015 on 94.7 The Pulse invites you to a community forum in Anglesea which was held on 13 June 2015 to explore what should happen now that it has been announced that the coal-fired power plant there will close in August.

The meeting was introduced by Regina Gleeson and facilitated by Geoff Brown of Rusty Brown, and you will hear excerpts from the speakers, Professor Chris Ryan of the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, Dr Nick Aberle of Environment Victoria, Kate Sullivan, Director, Planning and Environment at Surf Coast Shire, Margot Smith, mayor of Surf Coast Shire, and Sarah Henderson, federal member for Corangemite.

The audio recordings from the meeting were kindly provided by filmmaker Peter Yacono who is currently producing a documentary film, ‘Our Power’, about communities in Surf Coast and LaTrobe Valley.

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 77:

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 MORE INFORMATION 

Quotes, excerpts and links

…in relation to the 77th Sustainable Hour


The Community forum ‘Anglesea After Alcoa’ was held on Saturday 13 June 2015 at 2pm at the Anglesea Community Hall in Anglesea.

Regina Gleeson introduced and ended the meeting
Geoff Brown of Rusty Brown facilitated the meeting

Speakers:
Professor Chris Ryan of the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab,
Dr Nick Aberle of Environment Victoria, who specialises in coal mine rehabilitation.
Kate Sullivan (Director, Planning and Environment at Surf Coast Shire) and
Margot Smith, mayor of Surf Coast Shire
Sarah Henderson MP, federal member for Corangemite

Photos from the meeting in Anglesea: Courtesy of Tabitha Lowdon

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Interview with Andrew Laird

By Anthony Gleeson

Reflections on the meeting – part 1


Reflections on the meeting – part 2


About Surf Coast Air Action’s focus switch


About CSG – onshore gas mining


About what Twitter can do for a campaigner


About his personal experience as a campaigner



‘Our Power’

The sound recording from the meeting was provided by documentary producer Peter Yacono, who is currently working on a documentary entitled ‘Our Power’. It is primarily about the Latrobe Valley, and where Victoria is getting its base-load power from, but Anglesea and Surf Coast Air Action are an integral part of the story.

‘Our Power’ will be a film about the importance of people uniting to influence a positive change for their community, and why Victoria needs to be the first change-makers to lead Australia into a more sustainable future. The documentary will be released in the first quarter of 2016.

To learn more about ‘Our Power’, visit www.ourpowerdoco.com and www.facebook.com/ourpowerdoco



Rockefeller: Australian government in denial

“To put more money into something that you know is damaging the environment is not only denying science, it is denying data. But there are coal and gas interests out there who have allies in the current Australian government. I would say there has been a lot of denial at the federal level.”
Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, chair of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, good for some $860 American dollars, put it this way when she was interview for the ABC documentary ‘The End of Coal?’

» www.abc.net.au/4corners


» Geelong Advertiser – 14 June 2015:
Residents want to be heard on Anglesea issues
“Anglesea residents deserve to be in the driving seat on the future of the town’s coal mine and power station, says Andrew Laird of the Surf Coast Air Action group.”

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» Read more on www.facebook.com/SurfCoastAirAction and www.surfcoast.airaction.org

More radio about the Anglesea coal mine and powerplant

Surf Coast Air Action spokesperson Andrew Laird was guest in the Sustainable Studio on 94.7 The Pulse the week before: Anglesea says “goodbye coal – welcome transformation”

 



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Tuesday the 23 June 2015: GetUp! Open Forum
“WHAT CAN WE DO TODAY TO SECURE THE FUTURE FOR OUR KIDS TOMORROW?”

On the night we will be having a facilitated discussion around the question “What can we do today to secure the future for our kids tomorrow?” This will be an interactive session and your ideas and opinions will be highly valuable.

This event is organised by GetUp Geelong volunteers and is the first forum we are running as a way of testing out the format before we do a larger forum with the broader Geelong community.

When: 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Tuesday 23rd June
Where: All Saints Hall, 113 Noble Street, Newtown
RSVP: Click here to let us know you’re coming: www.field.getup.org.au/open_forum

Please feel free to bring along family and friends.

It’s going to be a very interesting and thought provoking evening. It’d be great to have you there to support the great work they are doing and to have your ideas and input on the question.

If you are able could you please bring a small plate of nibbles to share.

You can also RSVP via Facebook
www.facebook.com/events/1073596136001897



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More coal mining in Victoria

A new exploration licence has been granted near Mirboo North in Gippsland in the last few days. There have been four new coal exploration licences granted in 2015.

“The new coal licences come as the state government has heavily promoted its climate change credentials since winning the 2014 election, launching a wholesale review of climate change laws and programs and saying it wants to re-establish a state renewable energy target,” writes Tom Arup, The Age’s Environment editor.

» The Age – 17 June 2015:
Labor grants new coal exploration licences in Victoria

Dr Nicholas Aberle from Environment Victoria wrote:

“So far the ALP has been building up towards some promising policies on renewables and energy efficiency, and they’ve been talking big about climate change quite consistently, so this seems like a bit of an aberration, but we should try to ensure it remains an aberration.

If you want to drop a line to the Premier to say coal is not the future, that the rest of the world is moving away from coal, and that you can’t be a leader on climate change if you’re allowing new coal mines:

daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au or (03) 9651 5000

As always, be courteous and respectful, but make it clear what you want him to do.”





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“The South Australian electricity system could be operated entirely on scaled-up, commercially available, renewable energy sources. This is the conclusion of my forthcoming report (to be published next week) to the Conservation Council of South Australia.”
Mark Diesendorf

Mark Diesendorf is a great thinker in this space. He recently wrote an article on South Australia’s chance to go 100% renewables. Mark was a guest speaker for the Renewable Energy Jobs Forum held in Geelong Performing Arts Centre last year. A number of the big enviromental Victorian NGO’s are looking to focus on campaigning for a similar coal closure in Latrobe Valley.

» The Conversation – 12 June 2015:
Coal closures give South Australia the chance to go 100% renewable





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Hazelwood primer

Climate Action Moreland’s report ‘Replace Hazelwood Primer’ is now available on www.climateactionmoreland.org

Summary:

• The Victorian Government has expressed a desire (though it does not yet have a policy) for a significant expansion of renewable energy in Victoria. This has widespread community support and must be done quickly and at a large scale because climate change is already dangerous. Scientists warn that two degrees Celsius of warming could occur in just two decades, so preserving a safe climate and a healthy future requires rapid de-carbonisation.

• Expanding renewable energy requires coal-generating capacity to be removed from the market because oversupply is crowding out and preventing new investment. The Australian energy market operator says there are about eight gigawatts of surplus generating capacity across the national market, equivalent to five Hazelwood power stations. This includes up to 2.2 gigawatts of brown coal generation that is no longer required in Victoria in 2015, which is greater than Hazelwood’s capacity. Power companies have been lobbying government for capacity to be reduced, and senior Victorian energy department bureaucrats are aware of the need to close coal power stations in order to roll out renewables.

• The Victorian Government has committed to being a leader on climate change. Closing down excess coal generation is a key test of the government’s climate credentials. Coal-fired power stations are the world’s largest source of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions. Victoria cannot make the necessary emissions reductions without addressing the operations of Hazelwood and/or Yallourn power stations.

• Hazelwood power station is old, unsafe and dirty. Based on emissions intensity, it is the third-dirtiest coal power station in the world and the dirtiest in Australia, releasing around 16 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, almost three per cent of total Australian greenhouse emissions. The Hazelwood majority owner, Engie (formerly GDF Suez), owns the third-most polluting coal-power station fleet in the world. The full – health and carbon pollution – social costs of Hazelwood totalling $900 million per year are borne by the community, rather than the plant’s owners.

• A steady stream of local jobs can be created in the Latrobe Valley with the rehabilitation of mines and decommissioning of plant, which will require a significant workforce stretching well over a decade. The Latrobe Valley needs a strong jobs package and an economic transition plan and new industries because the move from coal to clean wind and solar renewable energy is now both urgent and inevitable.

• Hazelwood power station and mine are a health hazard to local residents, exemplified by the autumn 2014 mine fire. The owners of Hazelwood have abused their social licence and forfeited the right to profit from a power station that is now a major health hazard – both to local people and to all peoples who face the uncertainties of living in a hotter and more extreme climate.

• In July 2010, the Victorian Labor government promised to start shutting Hazelwood and passed climate legislation providing the reserve power to regulate emissions from existing brown coal-fired generators. Restoring the government’s capacity to regulate emissions would be complementary to actions being taken by other governments, including in the United States and Europe.

» Download the PDF



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