May 22, 2020: Morrison Wants To Give $11M To A Coal Baron

In last month’s Newsletter I was very happy to share the results of the previous six months of monitoring the energy performance of both the Greeny Flat and the old cottage next to it. We have been gradually upgrading the cottage with a complete energy retrofit over the last few years so I was delighted to announce that both houses had exported two-and-a-half times more energy into the grid that they had imported from the grid over a six month period. This clearly shows that it is possible to build new, or upgrade old homes, to the point where they generate more energy than they use and could easily be built to run entirely on renewable energy.

The Greeny Flat's solar panels are mounted on the garage roof.

The Greeny Flat’s solar panels mounted on the garage roof with the pre-retrofit cottage in the background.

It’s encouraging to think that, by building or retrofitting large numbers of homes like these, we could make a significant reduction in our national fossil fuel use. Which makes the following headline so much more discouraging…

Morrison Government Wants to Give $11M To A Coal Barron

A long-time reader sent me the following information which comes from the Nature Conservation Council

The Federal Government is on the verge of handing $11 million of your money to a coal baron to prop up an old, dirty, coal-fired power station.

The only thing standing between the coal baron and this pot of money is the NSW Government and you. If the Morrison Government wants to give money to the Vales Point coal-fired power station, it has to be approved by Premier Gladys Berejiklian first.

Berejiklian made a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions in NSW. If she backs Morrison’s plan to fund polluting coal, NSW will be dragged backwards by the climate deniers in the federal government.

Vales Point is a dirty power station with a dirty past.
The NSW Government sold Vales Point to coal baron Trevor St Baker for just $1 million. A few months later the facility was independently valued at $370 million. Now it’s worth more than $730 million.
St Baker is no stranger to political deals. He once ran as a National Party candidate and is a major donor to the Liberal and National parties. Since 2017 he has poured $84,000 into the Coalition’s pockets. Now in an egregious conflict of interest he’s got his hand out for $11 million from the Coalition government.
Berejiklian has the power to stop this scandalous waste of public money.
Scandalous indeed if this is true. Let’s hope that Gladys gets the message and blocks the funding. Meanwhile it’s hard not to feel deflated trying to build energy positive homes in a country whose government is so closely wed to the dirtiest of all fossil fuel industries. On the other hand, it’s also a stark reminder of how vital it is to reduce our fossil fuel use. Every time we draw electricity from the grid or drive a petrol-powered car we are directly supporting fossil fuel businesses. The best way for us to combat the power these companies wield is to stop buying their product so every time we reduce our fossil fuel use, we take a bit of that power back.

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