Canavan fails energy test

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto stands amongst a field of sugar cane, the fibre of which could fuel the proposed $640 North Queensland Bio-Energy (NQBE) plant.

NATIONALS Senator Matt Canavan has confirmed how out of touch he is with North Queensland’s renewable energy sector, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto said it beggared belief Senator Canavan wrote off renewable energy as the “dole bludgers” of the energy system in a recent newspaper opinion piece that argued for a new coal-fired power station in Collinsville.

“Senator Canavan’s sweeping statement shows contempt for key renewable energy projects in North Queensland that have nothing to do with solar or wind technology,” Mr Dametto said.

“In one sentence, he has dismissed Ingham’s proposed $640 million North Queensland Bio-Energy (NQBE) plant, MSF Sugar’s $75 million Tablelands Green Energy Power Plant and the visionary Tully Hydro Realignment project.”

During a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack in July last year, Mr Dametto personally delivered an Investment Information Memorandum from NQBE Corporation, which outlined the immense benefits of the project to North Queensland and how it would revolutionise sugar production in Hinchinbrook.

“In the lead up to last year’s Federal election, Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud made a lot of noise about Ingham’s proposed bio-energy plant during a visit to Ingham. How quickly the major parties forget,” Mr Dametto said.

“Mr Littleproud was quoted at the time saying he “would work with North Queensland Bio Energy to find government programs they can use”. I take that as a commitment to get funding for this project and the Feds should put their money where their mouth is. Or this another one of their broken promises?”

Powered by renewable sugarcane fibre known as bagasse, NQBE could generate up to 120 megawatts of dispatchable, baseload power into the power grid.

Meanwhile, the Tablelands Green Energy Power Plant can produce 24 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 26,280 homes, which is the entire population of the Tableland region.

“The added benefits of power generated in such a way adds greater system strength and reliability due to it being an AC power source,” Mr Dametto said.

“This is not the case with solar farms that only produce during daylight hours and require a transformer for the power to be used by industry and households. Renewable fuel sources including bagasse and hydro-electricity can be ramped up to meet national electricity market demand, creating reliable, dispatchable baseload power via a rotational generating system.

“Senator Canavan’s simplistic comments lack a basic understanding of power generation. Renewable energy projects go way beyond solar and wind and the Senator should acknowledge this.”

Nick Dametto MP