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Natural Gas Must Not Be Used as a Substitute for Clean Power Generation

It is proposed that natural gas be used instead of coal for electric power generation. The national climate summit put a deadline of 2012 for this to happen with the dirtiest power station, Hazlewood. Environment Victoria took up the challenge saying that natural gas with renewable energy resources could reduce Hazlewood's pollution by 14.4 million tonnes to just 1.8. Wind generation would gradually replace natural gas.

The claim is exceedingly optimistic. Too much faith is placed in wind generation despite the fact that electricity production by this means has peaked in northern Europe and it still does not make a profit.  Beyond Zero Emissions is even more optimistic. Its plan aims to end Hazlewood's use of coal by 2013.  Failure to reduce emissions means it could be closed.

The future looks good for natural gas production with gas being obtained from coal seams and 20 gas power plants being planned. Natural gas is not really clean though. Indeed, leakage of methane gas occurs. Replacing coal power generation with gas as a temporary measure is a mistake. What is the point of wasting millions of dollars in investment on the premise that something better will come along?

The best way to go in the short term is to build solar thermal power sites alongside existing coal power stations. Note that solar thermal only produces electricity during the day. A final solution will undoubtedly be tidal generation because the moon continues to circle the earth making oceans rise and fall day after day.
Environment by Ty Buchanan
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