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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

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Charles MacFarland really likes his pessimistic statements (Letters, Oct 16), and quotes figures that sound daunting, but seems to forget a couple of things.

Firstly, things like solar power plants, batteries and pumped hydro schemes would be built over, say, ten years (yes, I’m being optimistic), so the cost would be similarly spread over time.

Secondly, fossil fuel power plants cost too, and most of ours are getting on and will have to be replaced over the next twenty years, on average.

So take that cost off, and factor in the free fuel from solar and wind plants, and I think the figures would not look too bad – maybe half a submarine a year?

The same with electric cars – with an average age of around ten years, the whole vehicle fleet would be replaced over twenty years. If everyone, when they bought a new car, bought an electric one (they are expected to cost the same as a fossil fuelled car within about five years), the change would happen at no extra cost.

If the grid is changed to renewables at the same time, there is no need to have your own solar fixture, although people who have done this already say it is economically rational now.

Charles is right though that we must change our lives through and through, as well as demand action from our politicians – the more we change our own lives, the less the shock will be when the politicians are forced to act.

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  1. Cars in Australia are commonly kept for twenty or more years. The average age of cars in the Northern Rivers is more than twelve years. When suitable EVs are built for use in rural Australia they will probably eventually replace petrol and diesel vehicles, but it will take a lot longer than ten years.

    People deserve the opportunity now to travel affordably and sustainably. The NSW Government is encouraging bus fleets to move to EV buses, some of which are currently running in Australia. The NSW Government has also shown it’s willingness to fund rural bus service, including more services for the Tweed Coast. It’s a shame local public transport advocates show little awareness of developments and possiblities for sustainable transport that can serve all our region. Greta Thornberg would be most disappointed.


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