Letters to the editor

ROADWORKS: Council's Luke Ryan on Wangi Road, near the intersection with Wilton Road, at Rathmines. Picture: David Stewart
ROADWORKS: Council's Luke Ryan on Wangi Road, near the intersection with Wilton Road, at Rathmines. Picture: David Stewart

Enforce speed limits

WELL, well, well. After all this time, when the job is nearly completed, an article in the newspaper (“Speed limit ignored”, Lakes Mail, February 2)!

Mr Ryan is right; these speed limits are enforceable. But are they ever enforced? And I think that that is where the problem lies.

I well remember the upgrading of the M1 between Wahroonga and the Hawkesbury. There were speed limit signs as well as signs that warned that the speed limits were enforceable.

Never did I see a police presence. So who was enforcing them?

Don’t trivialize the law. A regular police presence either in the form of a camera or an officer would increase compliance.

I don’t think this is just a local problem; I think it’s statewide, if not nationwide.

So, who’s going to read and heed the Lakes Mail’s front-page article? Better still, how about posting signs at roadworks that warn of the penalty for killing or maiming a road worker? But, then again, if you can’t read a speed limit sign you’d have trouble reading a more detailed one.

- Angus McPhee, Rathmines

Wave goodbye to coal

I REFER to Carl Stevenson’s letter (“Renewables don’t add up”, Lakes Mail, January 26) regarding his assertion that the coal-fired Eraring power station be retained for backup to renewable energy systems, particularly wind-powered generators.

At the last count, 85 per cent of Australians lived within 50 kilometres of the coast. Anyone who has swum off our beaches will be aware of the tremendous power of waves. Attempts have been made to harness this energy.

A pilot plant was installed off Port Kembla a few years ago mounted on a moored surface pontoon and although it looked promising, it was badly damaged in a storm. An improved variation consisting of large spheres moored several metres below the surface offshore containing pumps and generators delivers power back to shore via subsea cables.

Such a system is being installed at HMAS Stirling Naval Base on Garden Island, off Western Australia, to provide all electricity needs as well as desalinated water.

This technology is environmentally friendly, has minimal visual impact and attracts marine life, while being fully-submerged in deep water, away from breaking waves and beachgoers.

As Australia is surrounded by oceans, the adoption of this energy source seems a no brainer. Multiple installations could be connected to the grid to provide continuous pollution-free energy.

- George Aungle, Morisset Park

True cost of coal power

CARL Stephenson (“Renewables don’t add up”, Lakes Mail, January 26) writes in support of extending coal-fired power, insisting that renewables don’t add up, but the Australian Renewable Energy Association provides a different picture.

The capital cost of building renewable energy installations in $ per kilowatt is already lower than coal, with rooftop solar $1,075, large scale solar $1,342, wind $2,693 and coal $3,351.

And with the low cost of wind and sunshine, renewables obviously also have an advantage in operating costs.

The recent shutdown of Eraring power station which had to be extended by approximately three weeks with far greater problems than anticipated indicates maintenance costs per kilowatt are also greater than expected. Ten years more of economic operation for Eraring may well be optimistic.

Add to that coal-fuelled global warming’s contribution to the increasing cost of natural disaster in Australia ($9 billion in 2015) and it is the economics of coal-fired power that needs to be questioned.

Little wonder that the major power companies have committed to phasing out their coal fired plants.

- Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi