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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 815 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

an hour in the morning or half an hour in the evening, those stations virtually have to operate at that capacity all day.

There has been some management attempted at harnessing what is called the spinning reserve that occurs in those troughs. If you have a peak station, like a gas turbine, which I first have to say is cleaner than brown coal from the Latrobe Valley and even cleaner environmentally than black coal from the Hunter Valley, and you can turn it on and off to manage the peak, then you can drop the whole load profile from much larger thermal stations.

So in terms of the environmental impact, I would suggest to you that it is highly likely that any gas turbine capacity would be much kinder to the environment. That is not to say that there is not more cleaner power being investigated, such as wind power and solar power. I am informed that ActewAGL, I think it is, have invested some money in the experimental station just out near Collector that is to be commissioned later this year.

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Mr Quinlan, I assume that you will have input. When you have that input will you be arguing for this proposal to be analysed in terms of best environmental practice? Will you be arguing that in fact $50 million could much better be spent in demand management programs to reduce peak demand and that it would be better and more environmentally responsible to invest in green power schemes that produce no greenhouse gas emissions?

MR QUINLAN: I am happy to answer those questions. I hope to be consulted on this, although I have to say that I would have to read the contract that set up ActewAGL to know if I have got any influence whatsoever. At the same time, I do not think at the end of the day ActewAGL are going to look on a mutually exclusive basis at the various strategies that you just enumerated. I think it is highly likely that they would look at those.

It is in the interests of the electricity distributors to conduct demand management programs anyway. It is not a case of doing it out of their generosity or their community spirit. It is a case of that is when the electricity costs a lot of money, that is when the pressure is on the market. You will be aware that the market is largely a spot market these days, and electricity at a peak time can cost a whole lot of money. So it is highly likely that ActewAGL will have their own demand management programs anyway, purely as an economic measure.

It is not the same for the generators, but with the separation of generation and distribution you can be assured, I would expect, that all distributors will be trying to manage demand as much as they can and to redistribute demand through such things as off-peak power.

In fact, there is no guarantee that this station, once built, will be used for the ACT. There is a national energy market, and I think the requirement will be that this particular station be plugged into the national grid. It would then be economics rather than environmental concerns that would drive when it is used because the electricity generated would be at times a very saleable product at premium prices, and that is highly likely why they would build it.

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