News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Goodsy
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#496 Post by Goodsy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:37 pm

claybro wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:12 pm
Goodsy wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:08 pm
claybro wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:04 pm
So now we are proposing to cut down trees, which absorb co2 and cool the surrounding air, in order to put in a solar farm, which will act as a heat island increasing local temperature, in order to help prevent co2 being generated elsewhere in the generation system to cool the atmosphere elsewhere? Seems a bit mad to me, and I'm not surprised the residents are pissed off.
It's an artificial pine plantation.. It was planted for lumber
So are you suggesting that a managed forest does not act like any other forest in absorbing co2 and cooling the local surrounds? Managed or natural, what difference does that make?
Not saying any anything like that, I'm just saying that you don't get to complain when something that was only ever meant to be temporary finally goes away.. It's like moving next door to the airport and then complain about the planes.

replanting it with native vegetation would be better for the local ecosystem anyway

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#497 Post by claybro » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:54 pm

Goodsy wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:37 pm
replanting it with native vegetation would be better for the local ecosystem anyway
Agree, however I was just pointing out the irony of replacing trees with a solar plant, when the whole idea of these solar plants is to reduce co2 in the atmosphere, a task the trees were doing naturally anyway. If we are at the point where we are chopping down plantation trees, then replacing them with solar plants, Id say we've gone mad, and as a resident, I would not be happy to be living next to a potential heat island.

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#498 Post by Goodsy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:57 pm

claybro wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:54 pm
Goodsy wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:37 pm
replanting it with native vegetation would be better for the local ecosystem anyway
Agree, however I was just pointing out the irony of replacing trees with a solar plant, when the whole idea of these solar plants is to reduce co2 in the atmosphere, a task the trees were doing naturally anyway. If we are at the point where we are chopping down plantation trees, then replacing them with solar plants, Id say we've gone mad, and as a resident, I would not be happy to be living next to a potential heat island.
Trees stop storing co2 as carbon once they're fully grown. You need to cut them down and regrow them to store more

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#499 Post by claybro » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:21 pm

Goodsy wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:57 pm
[quote=claybro post_id=179103 time=<a href="tel:1554193453">1554193453</a> user_id=5463]
[quote=Goodsy post_id=179102 time=<a href="tel:1554192436">1554192436</a> user_id=5942]
replanting it with native vegetation would be better for the local ecosystem anyway
Agree, however I was just pointing out the irony of replacing trees with a solar plant, when the whole idea of these solar plants is to reduce co2 in the atmosphere, a task the trees were doing naturally anyway. If we are at the point where we are chopping down plantation trees, then replacing them with solar plants, Id say we've gone mad, and as a resident, I would not be happy to be living next to a potential heat island.
[/quote]

Trees stop storing co2 as carbon once they're fully grown. You need to cut them down and regrow them to store more
[/quote]

Completely false. The process slows, but as long as a tree is living it is absorbing co2. All plants need co2 to survive, just as we need oxygen.

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#500 Post by PeFe » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:09 am

The trees can easily be replanted on another part of that property...or if that property has no space then another SA Water property......

I bet they wouldn't complain if the road was being widened...

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#501 Post by rhino » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:20 am

PeFe wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:09 am
I bet they wouldn't complain if the road was being widened...
And .... there it is. The truth.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#502 Post by Listy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:28 am

Obviously the primary reason SAWater is doing this is because they have done the sums and worked out it will save/make them money but I think it's a win environmentally too -
Pine tree plantations sequester about 1-2 tonnes of CO2 per acre per year. (& if a fire swept through the area one day, most of that CO2 gets released). Meanwhile, a 1 acre sized solar array (~100kW) will produce enough electricity to offset about 50 tonnes of CO2 emitted from a fossil fuel power plant (from coal, perhaps 20% less for gas) per year. It looks like the farm will be about 150 acres / 15MW, so multiply all that by 150. It would be sensible of SAWater to point out to the local residents that solar arrays are also more amenable to reduced / no herbicide weed control (eg sheep) than pine plantations.
Pine plantations are poor environments for biodiversity, nothing much grows underneath pine - it's possible that if some grassland is permitted to grow under the solar farm it will have better biodiversity, especially for insects, lizards & small birds like wrens etc. This may depend on how aggressively SAWater chooses to control the grass.
If it was unspoiled native bush we are talking about then it would be a different matter, but I have no concerns with clearing a 20ish year old pine plantation for a solar farm.

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#503 Post by rubberman » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:21 am

I think that what is being overlooked here is that this is a residential area and a designated water reserve.

If it was an industrial area, sure, the residents shouldn't complain. However, pulling down trees in a water reserve next to a residential area and putting up what is essentially an industrial landscape is hardly reasonable.

Oh sure, we can call the residents NIMBYs etc, but if governments can just step in an build industrial scale plants next to Happy Valley residents, then who's next?

Now in this case, SA Water could probably have spent a little bit more on shrubbery and landscaping, and nobody would have objected. However, it seems they have just barged ahead without thinking.

Infrastructure is necessary, however, there's a big blind spot in many utilities where they try to make installations as ugly as possible these days. Many necessary installations can have their impacts lessened by sympathetic paint colouring, light screens, landscaping and plants, but often the utilities seem to go out of their way to make things as ugly and intrusive as they can. And are surprised when the public objects.

Objecting to a major industrial use on a water reserve next to a residential area is not unreasonable.

However, I will point out that most residential areas have green spaces. If it's ok to build solar panels at Happy Valley, why not in everyone's green space? Adelaide Parklands? I mean, ETSA has that transformer substation in Barton Terrace. Why not expand it? All that area full of solar panels? If it's ok in Happy Valley, why not everywhere? Now, just for a moment, imagine we did use up all our green spaces, we probably could get close to 100% solar...so maybe it's not a bad idea.

If we want to get to 100% solar by putting panels on all our green spaces, and that's a majority decision, I'll go along with it. However, if it's just happening at Happy Valley because SAWater were too lazy to invest in some landscaping and shrubbery, not so much.

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#504 Post by Llessur2002 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:47 am

So this is a plantation yes? i.e. it was planted with the intention of one day harvesting the crop? In which case I would say there is an element of caveat emptor applies here - don't buy a house next to trees which were always intended to be cut down at some point and then complain when the trees are cut down.

On the other hand this is a residential area so SA Water should ensure that the overall landscaping of the site is sympathetic to both the local residents and the biodiversity of the reservoir area.

From the Advertiser article:
SA Water’s community engagement manager Matthew Bonnett said the company was working closely with direct neighbours to gather their feedback on the project.

“We understand visual amenity is important to the local community, so solar panels at Happy Valley will be set back around 20 metres from the reservoir reserve boundary and screened by an earth mound planted with low growing native vegetation, which will add to local biodiversity,” Mr Bonnett said.

“Forestry SA’s commercial Aleppo pine plantation hosted on SA Water land along Main South and Black Rd in Happy Valley will be harvested, to allow for the installation of solar panels. (The) pine crop was always intended to be harvested and is several years overdue for felling.

“A large area of native vegetation will remain in the reservoir reserve.”
I think this needs to be managed carefully, which hopefully it will, but it's not exactly a travesty.

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenge ... fcb7028a51

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#505 Post by rubberman » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:01 pm

Llessur2002 wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:47 am
So this is a plantation yes? i.e. it was planted with the intention of one day harvesting the crop? In which case I would say there is an element of caveat emptor applies here - don't buy a house next to trees which were always intended to be cut down at some point and then complain when the trees are cut down.

On the other hand this is a residential area so SA Water should ensure that the overall landscaping of the site is sympathetic to both the local residents and the biodiversity of the reservoir area.

From the Advertiser article:
SA Water’s community engagement manager Matthew Bonnett said the company was working closely with direct neighbours to gather their feedback on the project.

“We understand visual amenity is important to the local community, so solar panels at Happy Valley will be set back around 20 metres from the reservoir reserve boundary and screened by an earth mound planted with low growing native vegetation, which will add to local biodiversity,” Mr Bonnett said.

“Forestry SA’s commercial Aleppo pine plantation hosted on SA Water land along Main South and Black Rd in Happy Valley will be harvested, to allow for the installation of solar panels. (The) pine crop was always intended to be harvested and is several years overdue for felling.

“A large area of native vegetation will remain in the reservoir reserve.”
I think this needs to be managed carefully, which hopefully it will, but it's not exactly a travesty.

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenge ... fcb7028a51
There's always caveat emptor. However, we have zoning regulations for a reason, so something that seems to fly in the face of that needs to be justified,mand as you say, carefully managed. The point about the trees being periodically harvested is fair, and if SAWater were to be replanting them, the residents would have no cause to complain. However, don't you think that replacing trees with an industrial installation is pushing the bounds of what is reasonable.

My concern is this: SAWater and ETSA have a history of taking over green spaces and erecting the ugliest infrastructure they can. It then takes decades to get them to minimise the intrusion. SAWater had huge chunks of parklands dedicated to depots which took years to unmake. ETSA still has that ugly substation in parklands off Barton Terrace. They both put up transformers, valve assemblies and other boxes without the slightest attempt to make them look nice or hide. These utilities simply don't understand or care. Which is why people take them on.

I declare that I have no personal or financial interest whatever in Happy Valley. However, I am annoyed that major utilities have no interest in minimising the obtrusive nature of their activities.

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#506 Post by NTRabbit » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:43 pm

It's not like they're rezoning a residential area into industrial and the next residential zone over be damned, the Happy Valley Reservoir lands have always been, well, whatever zone type a reservoir is, and there are already light industrial buildings on the site, ie all the water treatment facilities, and those are set as far back from the road on the west side as they claim the panels will be from the north.

Also there aren't even any houses at the corner of Black and Main South, unless the panel array is going to be much bigger than I'm picturing its nearest neighbour is going to be a paddock with a couple of horses and some practise equestrian jumps, and a CSIRO agricultural research facility.

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#507 Post by Aidan » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:40 pm

Nobody would object to putting solar panels on the roof of their water treatment plant and tanks. But replacing forest with solar panels is another matter, especially as there are so many other places they could go.

Thinking a bit more about it, I wonder whether SA Water's real objective is to stop those trees from consuming so much water that would otherwise go into the reservoir?

Whether it is or not, I can't see this going ahead. The government want the land to be part of Glenthorne National Park.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#508 Post by Goodsy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:18 pm

Aidan wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:40 pm
Nobody would object to putting solar panels on the roof of their water treatment plant and tanks. But replacing forest with solar panels is another matter, especially as there are so many other places they could go.

Thinking a bit more about it, I wonder whether SA Water's real objective is to stop those trees from consuming so much water that would otherwise go into the reservoir?

Whether it is or not, I can't see this going ahead. The government want the land to be part of Glenthorne National Park.
I doubt the water use of those trees would even register, Happy Valley gets all of its water from Mount Bold.

The Pine Plantation is tiny compared to the rest of the complex anyway

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#509 Post by NTRabbit » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:22 pm

Aidan wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:40 pm
Whether it is or not, I can't see this going ahead. The government want the land to be part of Glenthorne National Park.
Personally I think the solar farm is far more likely to happen than Glenthorne. I'm not against a new national park, but I don't think the reservoir should be turned into a recreation site.

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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

#510 Post by PD2/20 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:43 pm

The SA Water website https://watertalks.sawater.com.au/zcef-happy-valley indicates the size of the solar installation is about 9MW. There are three documents linked to this page: a general fact sheet on the installation 152MW of solar over sites https://watertalks.sawater.com.au/42606/documents/96063, a Happy Valley FAQ https://watertalks.sawater.com.au/42606/documents/96895 and a Happy Valley Site Map https://watertalks.sawater.com.au/42606 ... nts/101726. The map indicates that part of the solar farm proposal is the establishment of an earth mound and low lying landscaping along the northern and western boundaries of the farm.

Looking at the historic images in Google Earth shows that the adjoining residential development north of Black Road occurred in 2004, by which time the plantation was well established. Also the storage tank that is sited to the SW of the plantation next to Main South Rd was constructed around 2009 on what had been part of the plantation. However a screening stand of pines has been left between the tank and South Rd. The extent of the water treatment plant between the plantation and the reservoir is clearly visible in the aerial images although it is scarcely visible from the adjoining roads.

The Onkaparinga Council development plan shows that the entire reservoir reserve is zoned as Open Space and that the land to the north of Black Rd west of the residential development is part of the Hills Face zone and is subject to severe development restrictions.

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