North Coast

Renewables must not come at Nature’s expense

The announcement of a $1.2 billion investment by the NSW govt in renewable energy is welcomed, said the North Coast Environment Council’s Vice-President Susie Russell.

However that investment must not come at the expense of nature. There is no point saving the climate if we have sacrificed nature to get there.

“We need to get emissions down, and when and if we do, there needs to be healthy forests, healthy rivers and all our unique wildlife needs to have made it through too. At the moment, nature is dying the death of a thousand cuts. Reducing emissions and bringing renewables online must not add to that problem.

“The NSW government must immediately rule out wood-fired power stations as a renewable energy source. Replacing coal emissions with wood emissions when we have a koala extinction crisis is madness. The trees need to stay in the ground, not be ground up and burnt. Any primary school student understands that”, she said.

“The government must require all renewable energy projects to be carried out without further land-clearing. The scale of the devastation being inflicted on nature in Queensland by some of the mega wind-farms is obscene. It’s not green power if it was obtained by clearing rainforests or endangered ecological communities.

“New transmission lines, solar and wind farms must be located on already cleared land. We know that these uses are compatible with grazing and cropping

“That goes for pumped hydro too. It’s a great idea, but not if it involves clearing threatened species habitat.

“The government must also specify that the components of the projects that receive government funding are fully recyclable in a form that can be reused. No more burying wind turbine blades in landfill or shredding solar panels. If they are to benefit from public funding then they must not create another environmental problem when it is time to replace them.

“If the solution to a problem today is an environmental nightmare tomorrow, it is clearly not the solution we need,” Ms Russell said.