To the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment,
Submission to Hunter Power Project (Kurri Kurri Power Station)
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Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission. We have a number of significant concerns about the project and strongly object to the Hunter Power Project proposal.
A new gas power plant is inconsistent with the NSW Government’s climate commitments. The Environmental Impact Statement shows the project will be responsible for 14.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gases over its operating life. NSW has a commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The International Energy Agency recently released a report that sets out the pathway to reach net zero by 2050. It states that investment in new fossil fuel supply is inconsistent with the pathway to net zero emissions. The report effectively sets a phase-out date for gas-fired power by requiring electricity generation to have net zero emissions by 2035 for OECD countries. The proponents are indicating that the plant would have a thirty year lifespan, stretching well beyond 2035. It is worth noting that this plant is not “hydrogen ready” with the EIS stating that use of hydrogen would require modification to the power station and gas turbines. This proposal is clearly inconsistent with the NSW Government policies and should be rejected.
A new gas power plant is not needed for our energy system. This proposal is a political intervention by the Morrison Government, designed to help fix their political problems, not to benefit NSW. The EIS presents no information to support the claim that this power station is needed. Multiple energy experts have dismissed its need. Snowy Hydro’s Colongra gas power station is an hour away from the proposed Kurri Kurri power station and has operated on average less than 1% of its total capacity in the last three years.
Table: Colongra Power Station utilisation rates
|Year||Facility name||Nameplate capacity (MW)||Electricity production (MWh)||Utilization rate (%)|
|May 2020-April 2021||Colongra Power Station||667||43605.8||0.7%|
|2019-2020||Colongra Power Station||667||33,198||0.6%|
|2018-2019||Colongra Power Station||667||28,864||0.5%|
The site location raises integrity concerns. The proposed site at the former Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter is owned by Hydro Aluminium Kurri Kurri but they have an agreement to sell the land to a joint venture of the McCloy Group and Stevens Group. The chairman of the McCloy Group is Jeff McCloy, a former Liberal party donor who was found by ICAC Operation Spicer to have acted with the intention of evading NSW bans on political donations from property developers.
This gas-fired power station is inconsistent with NSW policy objectives, polluting and unnecessary and we urge the department to reject the application.
CEO, 350.org Australia
1 – NSW Net Zero Plan, available here.
2 – International Energy Agency, 2021, “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector”, p 21.
3 – Ibid, p 20.
4 – EIS, p 24.
5 – The Guardian, “”No coherent plan’: experts reject Coalition rationale for taxpayer funded gas power plant”, available here.
6 – Nameplate capacity from Snowy Hydro.
7 – Calculated by 350.org using data from the National Electricity Market.
8- Including leap year day in 2020.