What Simon says is wrong

Solar farms are great, says MARK PARTON, but not the one planned for Uriarra Village

I’M a fat old man. And if I don’t regularly ride my road bike, I get fatter and feel older.

Simon Corbell

Simon Corbell

I rode up to Royalla for a bit of fun last week. That Monaro Highway hill at the back of Theodore is a monster; breaking your heart on the way up, but better than any ride at the Canberra Show on the way down.

Once up over the hill, I rode past the big solar farm project at Royalla.

Wow! It’s impressive – all those solar panels. There’s going to be 83,000 of them, eventually.

I do a lot of thinking on the bike and on that day I thought a lot about the renewable energy debate.

I talk a lot about it on my radio program. Most of the discussions are conducted along ideological “party lines”, but does the debate have to be so political?

Surely, if we could cost-effectively make energy from the sun, irrespective of what you think about climate change, wouldn’t you just do it? The answer is “yes”.

But when compared to other more traditional power sources, solar is not at all cost effective. However, considering the time, money and effort going into the technology, surely it’s inevitable that one day it’ll be as cheap, if not cheaper than coal.

I understand some Royalla residents have expressed concern at the proximity of the solar development to their homes. But Royalla Village itself is over the hill and, for the most part, residents can’t see the solar farm from their houses.

Uriarra Village’s proposed solar farm is quite another thing.

This one is far too close to too many homes. I can’t see how it can proceed.

I spoke to the Minister in question, Simon Corbell, last week and he continues to insist that the planning process must be followed through.

I wonder why the Planning Minister can usurp the planning process when it comes to approving certain developments by using his “call in” powers, but that it doesn’t work the other way. If ever there was a case when Corbell should step in and use “call out” powers it’s the Uriarra solar project.


Mark Parton is the breakfast announcer on 2CC


One Response to “What Simon says is wrong”

  1. JMunro
    February 21, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    Fantastic article MarkP, thank you for standing up for Canberra families. Uriarra Village is a gorgeous rural suburb of Canberra and easily the most environmentally active and aware. Uriarra Village residents support solar, just ethically placed e.g. Not 50metres from the front doorstep. SimonC is very wrong in his decision and if this goes ahead, it will significantly damage Canberra families both financially and on lifestyle. There is an easy answer, simply move the solar site back a few km’s, plenty of space out there, a simple, easy resolution that SimonC and Elementus Energy are continuing to ignore, but the question is, Why? #SwitchTheSite

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