Letters to the editor March 20 2017

DO YOU HAVE A PICTURE?: The Rhododendron Gardens by Anita Pallas. Send your image to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or share it on our Facebook page.
DO YOU HAVE A PICTURE?: The Rhododendron Gardens by Anita Pallas. Send your image to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or share it on our Facebook page.


Elon Musk’s intervention in our power supply debate has highlighted the pace of change.

When there is sun or wind, renewable power is cheaper than coal power. It doesn’t need fuel. And the taxpayer does not need to subsidise coal transport , water or greenhouse gas emissions.

When consumer demand climbs above connected generation capacity, we need extra power to switch on quickly.

Coal doesn’t fit here, either, because it is expensive to ramp coal power stations up and down. Until recently gas generators have been able to extract a high price for their flexibility. But battery storage is now providing an alternative.

The Federal government is saying  “all states should have similar renewable energy targets”. This is like saying that all states should grow the same crops.

We should instead utilise our national diversity of resources.

We could strengthen interstate connections and modify the rules to maximise the use of gas and hydro for demand matching, and shift power east or west to help with morning and evening peaks.

Instead, the government proposes subsidised new coal power to replace coal power stations which have already shut down because they are uncompetitive, while trying to isolate South Australia and mislead people about the causes of blackouts.

This strategy will drive South Australia to implement an innovative solution by itself. And coal will not feature in it.

Power distribution was a monopoly. Now, rooftop solar with battery storage is competition for any power delivered by poles and wires. It is no longer possible to build a new coal power station then force consumers to pay for the finance and the coal.

The Federal government could perpetuate coal now by taxpayer subsidy and  market restriction. Or it could adopt a vote winning strategy of facilitating a modern, competitive clean power system.

Rowan Huxtable, Mangerton


Politicians continually target the financially poor. First we have to investigate the pensioner aren't getting to much money( about $23,000/annum). Then we have penalty rates taken from the poorest working people. Now we have the Waterboard removing a pensioner discount from their rating system.

At the same time Baird after making lots of money from politics leaves to work for $1-2 million/annum. Judges still maintain the gold card with pensions in the $200,000/annum realm. Politicians steal from the public purse but its ok as the step down but are not charged with fraud.

Politicians and legal people can well afford to dig into their pockets and pay their fair share of tax but they just continue to target the poor people who are going backwards. What great leaders we have.

Ray Jaeger, Coledale


In reply to the letter by Reg Wilding (The Unemployment Problem, Illawarra Mercury, Friday, March 10, 2017) there are a number of ways available to the Turnbull government to address unemployment.

We need huge infrastructure projects like a second Sydney airport, another hydro-electric scheme, high speed rail project from Adelaide to Brisbane and major road upgrades in rural Australia.

Those unemployed people aged between 18-30 could be sent to work rebuilding our nation while also attending TAFE.

Consider the benefits with unemployed people being paid, gaining skills, given hope and confidence and our country being developed for the better.

Those remaining on unemployment benefits need to be allowed to look for work or study full-time to gain qualifications or both without decreasing the benefit. Bureaucracy and politics are hindrance to such thought!

Adrian Devlin, Fairy Meadow


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