Hanson slams government over failed solar project
ONE Nation Leader Pauline Hanson paid an unexpected visit to the Western Downs last Thursday to deliver an address via social media criticising the Government's $100million-plus expenditure on the Kogan Creek Power Mine.
Senator Hanson stood in front of the power station, 30km southwest of Chinchilla, and made claims both the State and Federal governments had torn up $105million and thrown it in the toilet on a solar project that failed to deliver not even "one milliamp of electricity”.
"Right now, 3000 solar panels are being busted up and thrown into skip bins, ready for landfill at the Kogan Creek Power Station,” the Facebook video caption read.
"It's crazy to think the panels were never used! Not once.”
CS Energy has since responded to Senator Hanson's criticism, claiming the company had made the commercially responsible decision to remove equipment from the former Solar Boost demonstration project site.
The project started construction in 2011 and was designed to use AREVA Solar's Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology to provide, in peak solar conditions, a solar thermal addition to the 750MW Kogan Creek coal-fired power station.
Work at the site stopped in 2013 due to issues with the solar thermal addition boiler tubes and in August 2014 AREVA announced it would withdraw its operations from Australia and exit the solar thermal business worldwide.
In 2016, CS Energy announced it would not complete the Solar Boost demonstration project due to a number of technical and contractual difficulties.
Executive general manager of asset management Colin Duck said since the decision to terminate the Solar Boost project in 2016, CS Energy assessed all possible options including selling, repurposing and disposal of the disused equipment.
"CS Energy decided the most responsible course of action was to safely remove the equipment and recycle the majority of the 4000tonnes of steel,” Mr Duck said.
"The remaining project equipment that cannot be recycled, including the solar mirrors and other materials, will be safely disposed of in SEQ landfills in accordance with legislative requirements.”
Mr Duck said it was important to point out that the solar mirrors from the project were not solar photovoltaic panels like those used in solar farms.
"It is not uncommon for demonstration projects to experience challenges and CS Energy shared its learnings from the project with industry via the Australian Renewable Energy Agency,” he said.
A One Nation spokesman said Senator Hanson was ultimately making a call for additional coal-fired power generators to be built across Australia, with preference for new projects to include modern high-efficiency, low-emission design.
"The supply of power to southern states should be used to subsidise the rate of power to Queensland homes and businesses,” he said.
"Escalating power costs are eroding profits and forcing businesses to choose between keeping staff employed or keeping the lights on. In most cases, businesses are choosing to operate with less staff. This needs to stop or we will continue to see small towns and regions die,” the One Nation spokesman said.
"Affordable electricity is the key to prosperity in any developed nation. As much as we don't like to admit it, Australia competes on a global level with nations whose electricity is half that of Australia and their wages are even lower again,” he said.
"We must use our natural competitive advantage of having an abundance of good-quality coal on our doorstep to help Australia maintain its level of social living and sustain or even grow the manufacturing, agriculture and industries we have left in this nation.”