Hunter locals fight plans for power plant

Liz HobdayAAP
The federal government says the plant will fill power gaps when the Liddell station (pic) closes.
Camera IconThe federal government says the plant will fill power gaps when the Liddell station (pic) closes. Credit: AAP

Hunter Valley residents fighting to stop a new gas-fired power plant have pinned their hopes on the NSW government knocking back the project in the planning stage.

Government-owned Snowy Hydro wants to build the 660 megawatt open cycle gas turbine at Kurri Kurri, on the site of an old aluminium smelter.

East Maitland resident Paul Razman told AAP his family has been in the Hunter for 50 years, and is "vehemently opposed" to the plans.

"It's obscene to see this continuing. We can't see any rational justification for it," the property developer said.

About 300 Hunter Valley residents have contributed to a submission to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, complied by the Gas Free Hunter Alliance, complaining of emissions from the plant, and a lack of community consultation.

"We will refuse to let this development go ahead, and it's a lot easier to stop at the planning stage than when the shovels come out," Mr Razman said.

The Morrison government argues the $600 million project will be necessary to keep power prices down when AGL's Liddell coal-fired power station closes over the next few years.

Snowy Hydro says the firming power from the plant would create 87 per cent less emissions than the equivalent amount of energy from Bayswater power station.

It also says the plant will operate the most efficient gas turbines available, and with some adjustments will be able to run on up to 30 per cent hydrogen fuel.

But the plant may have to run on diesel fuel initially before gas lines are connected.

More than 9000 NSW residents have also signed a petition to NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean, asking him to reject the plans for the power station.

The NSW department of planning, industry and environment has received more than 250 submissions regarding the project, which will also be assessed under the Environment Protection Act.

The International Energy Agency recently stated that new investment in fossil fuel projects would have to stop immediately if the world is to reach zero net emissions by 2050.

The NSW government has been contacted for comment.

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