Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Friday, October 6, 2017

RELIABILITY: One contributor has questioned claims about the capabilities of renewable energy, arguing it could not reliably meet the nation's required power load.
RELIABILITY: One contributor has questioned claims about the capabilities of renewable energy, arguing it could not reliably meet the nation's required power load.

THE opinion piece ‘Key role of energy storage ignored in power debate’ (Herald, 29/9) by Pat Conroy was, I think, misleading and misquoting of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on important details. 

Contrary to the optimistic numbers the shadow assistant minister for climate and energy stated for renewable energy, the IEA reported that only 13.4 per cent of the world's energy was derived from renewables. Of that, only 1.5 per cent was from solar, wind and geothermal.

Most came from hydro or combustion of biofuels and waste. For 2016, OECD countries only, renewables generated 23 per cent of electricity but again solar was only 2 per cent, wind 5 per cent and most, 16 per cent, came from hydro and burning biofuel/waste. Since 1990 worldwide, total renewables have grown at 2 per cent per year, just slightly faster than total energy growth (TPES) at 1.8 per cent. 

Mr Conroy claimed 19 per cent of Australia's electricity was generated from renewable energy. Not really, AEMO reported only 5.8 per cent of total energy and 13.7 per cent of electricity from renewables. Most of that would be from hydro. Of the NEM installed capacity (much larger than actual generated power) 8.5 per cent was solar and wind.  What is more worrying was that by AEMO's own assessment only 5 per cent of wind and solar capacity was reliable compared to 95 per cent for coal power.

It will need more than a few Lithium batteries or pumped hydro for renewables to carry the power load of this country. 

As Mr Conroy concluded, debate must be based on facts and evidence not ideological assertions by politicians.

Peter Devey, Merewether

Support from ‘heartland’

THE continuing messages of support for people living inside the East End, from people outside the East End (thank you Tom from Marks Point, Short Takes 3/10), is further evidence that this Supercars event does not carry the universal support of "heartland Australia", as so provocatively claimed by James Warbuton earlier in the year.

The East End has always been the most welcoming section of the CBD, accommodating thousands of visitors, week in week out, year in year out for decades. No 'cultural elite' sector that I know of in my 12 years of living here have ever dared raise their hands to suggest that we prevent any visitor, at any time. This Supercars event has several problems, not least its beyond reasonable noise levels and insanely close proximity to people's homes.

The salt in the wound that people in the East End will have to register themselves to gain access to their own homes is clearly lost on many in this debate. Move the silly race to somewhere appropriate

Scott Cooper-Johnston, Newcastle

Crumbling history

REGARDING Thomas Levick's comment on Hamilton bowling club (Letters, 4/10): I agree it should be a community gathering place in what used to be a spectacular garden park.

My great grandparents Mary and Rupert Robinson were instrumental in starting the Hamilton Women's Bowling Club to give the young ones a place to enjoy their sport. The club commenced on February 16, 1915, and along with other members also included their two daughters, my aunts, Clara (Frost) and Molly (Calthorpe) Robinson. The club went on to be one of the oldest continuous women's bowling clubs in Australia. All that history has been lost, and left in its place is a derelict building going to rack and ruin.

I think of my family history every time I pass Gregson Park and wonder whatever happened to all that memorabilia from the club from those hard working members who put so much effort into keeping the club open and what it could be turned into for other families to use and enjoy.

Marilyn Urane, Wallsend

Time changes perspective

IF I had to participate in this same-sex marriage survey in the ’60s when I was a young man, I would defiantly have voted ‘no’. But 50 years on I have voted ‘yes’.

Why you may ask? Simple, back then I, like the general population, was ignorant about the human body and its makeup and after 50 odd years of listening, reading, watching and learning I now realise, thanks to the advancement in the scientific medical field, that we aren’t robots and not all born the same way.

So what I thought then was a lifestyle choice was certainly not, especially when you consider the vilification that they endured. And the sad part now is we still have those in the ‘no’ camp wanting to deny that knowledge to their children and thus keep the ignorance of medical facts perpetuating through another generation.

Allan Earl, Thornton

Marriage was the problem

A MAN from Toronto bemoans the fact that there is no official record of his relationship with his same-sex partner (‘Law left no record of unconditional love’, Herald, 5/10).

Let’s look at the facts: The deceased person at all material times was married to a woman and no divorce or annulment had been completed – whether it was attempted or not I have no evidence. So it does not matter how committed this couple were, the law was unable to have an official record of the relationship as the two people were not both free to form a new relationship.

For as long as the marriage existed at law there was a legal impediment to forming any other lawful relationship whether it was with a same-sex person or a person of the opposite sex. The truth is that there were legal hurdles that had to be overcome before one of the two were able to have a legal standing in any relationship together and the legalisation of same-sex marriage would not have given any remedy. The civil union had no legal status because of a current standing relationship produced a legal impediment that could not have surmounted until a desolation of the previous relationship.

I note the claim that this is an example of how same-sex marriage would have helped this couple – such a claim is wrong at law. The fact is if this couple were free to enter into a relationship a civil union would have achieved the same result as any new marriage relationship. 

We need to get the facts straight and vote ‘no’ as most claims as to the rights refused are not correct and the changes are more than marriage but a whole new way of recognising gender and of a sex education in schools that most would be horrified to see the full extent in our communities.

Milton Caine, Birmingham Gardens