While local Council’s across regional and remote Queensland embrace, and encourage renewable and green energy production it seems they are leaps and bounds ahead of their city counterparts.
Observers say they are left scratching their heads with the largely NIMBI based decision coming at a time when the nation is facing an energy crisis.
Redland City Council voted to block a State Government and Australian Renewable Energy Agency endorsed project and the battle is now set to go before the courts in an appeal and at a huge cost to local ratepayers.
The decision has been described as abysmal by green energy expert and proponent David Bray from Cleveland Power.
“The nations’ leading green energy agencies and authorities now see Redlands Council as a laughing stock.”
Councillors have voted against extending the application by Cleveland Power to develop the Mount Cotton Biomass Green energy plant, effectively blocking a green energy source which would have generated and supplied clean energy over 40,000 homes.
Mr Bray says the “sheer stupidity” of the decision means the matter will now go back to court.
“Redland ratepayers can expect a legal bill in the hundreds of thousands of dollars with the result being a delay to a key power supply source, delay 82 new jobs for the city, and a delay to a much needed and Federal and State Government acknowledged green solution to the current energy crisis.”
“There’s a few Councillors there who are incapable of grasping key issues. This project has been over a decade in its planning, involves world experts and scientists from federal agencies to ensure we arrived at a clean energy plant that was world leading.”
The project, some 12 years in design and planning is listed as one of the keys to achieving renewable energy targets set by governments.
Mr Bray says communities need to be aware of the limitations some Councillors have.
Mr Bray says Council Officers made it clear in their recommendations that the project should be granted the extension.
“The losers are the people of Redlands and of Queensland. Hard to believe that in a city that prides itself on a green approach, they are blocking key projects and approving small lot housing that remains unserviced by sewerage. It makes no sense.”
Work on the project had already commenced with the site at Mount Cotton already cleared and footings for the new building put into place.
Tenders for construction had been called and that company will now be placed on hold and those jobs now get lost to the region at least until we sort out this mess via expensive and unnecessary legal battles.
The power plant will burn approximately 60,000 tonnes of chicken litter a year ridding the poultry rich area and the city of the ecological threat of litter storage.
This project would prevent the emission of 120,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas annually. That’s twice the mass of the chicken litter burned and equivalent to removing 30,000 vehicles from local roads.
It would generate enough power to run the entire power requirements for the city’s biggest private employer Darwalla Milling and Golden Cockerel and provide power for more than 40,000 homes.
Mr Bray says he remains deeply concerned for the future of the city in the hands of the current Council.
The project is set to create 82 new jobs for the city, and according to Cleveland Power releases no odour or no toxic fumes and burns clean.
“It’s one of the state’s most outrageous anti-green decisions seen in years, delivered courtesy of the Redland City Councilors.”