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pollution and energy poverty in the daintree

Pollution in the Daintree

Thanks to the short sighted policies of previous governments and the decision to block grid electricity in the Daintree, there are currently hundreds of individual generators running, pumping thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the World Heritage listed rainforest.
Three million litres of fuel are trucked across the Daintree river each year!
And the burning of fuel in often old smoky generators is not the only pollution, there is the oil from all the oil changes these generators need, discarding of old worn out generators, and the regular replacement of banks of lead acid batteries.
Because grids are absent everybody that does not want, or can afford, to run their generator around the clock needs a storage bank of batteries, and these wear out after a few years, and often they just end up sitting around in the rainforest near people's houses, with sulfuric acid leaching into the ground.
Alltogether the fuel burning, oil changes and battery dumping form an environmental disaster which has no place in a modern world where everyone is trying to be greener and more environmentally aware.

Bob explaining the stupidity of the situation

Tour guides on the many daytours that travel up to the Daintree tell people nonsense that this is the largest renewable energy community in Australia, but In reality this ' renewable energy community' is running on generators most the time burning lots of petrol and diesel, pumping thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the rainforest and nearly three million litres of fuel is trucked up every year. You will see the trucks travel across the ferry, and you may have to wait as the fuel trucks are not allowed to travel together with other traffic.
As it is very in-efficient to run a generator for only one household, it would be much better for the environment to have one big generator in a central location with a distribution network like every remote indigenous community around the country has. Even many greenies agree on this now.

pollution of dead batteries in the daintree rainforest
Piles of discarded lead-acid batteries sitting around the Daintree

This is what shortsighted ignorant government policies lead to; besides polluting generators there is also the pollution of discarded worn out batteries, any type of grid would eliminate the need for batteries.
The Daintree is full of discarded lead-acid batteries like above, sulfuric acid leaching into the world's oldest rainforest.

In October 2003 a group of Cape Tribulation business community members had requested a central generating plant be installed at Cape Tribulation. They provided evidence of consumption of more than 1.5 million litres of fuel per year; and more than 20 generators between 40 and 150kVa operating up to 24hrs per day within a 5km radius. A ludicrous situation, and to add to this the dangers of emissions, fuel storage and waste disposal.
The request was rejected, and the generators are still roaring today.

Renewable Energy Re-defined

Renewable Energy is a popular buzzword that is all around us these days as attempts are made to make this world less polluting. But despite its romantic sounding name, what is the harsh reality of "Renewable Energy" to Daintree residents?

Every six to eight years you have to RENEW your batterybank, depending on its size you are up for $4500 to even $20 000 and you can add a pile of lead and acid to the battery pile in the photo above.
From time to time you have to RENEW your generator, costs anywhere from $1000 to $50 000, and on a regular basis you have to RENEW the engine oil in your generator and discard of it.
You also need to frequently RENEW your petrol or diesel supply as you burn it in your generator.
Inverters need their capacitor bank RENEWED from time to time, cost $1000
All the equipment in your "Renewable Energy" system has to be RENEWED from time to time, inverters and battery chargers can blow up, and solar panels can be damaged in lightning strikes, the RENEWAL of any of these components once again can cost anywhere from $1000 to over $20 000

Energy gone into producing all this equipment is known as embodied energy, and all the energy and resources gone in to generators, batteries, solar panels etc. is another big waste.

renewable energy from renewed generators

Generators worn out, time to RENEW the generators and dump the old ones.

renweing the petrol supply

Time to RENEW the fuel supply after a rainy period surviving on generators.

discarded batteries in the daintree
A typical Daintree driveway, the batteries had to be renewed again...

In 2015 more than 150 countries from around the world got together in Paris to commit to meaningful CO2 reductions. We emailed the Queensland Premier what her plans were but the usual reply from a staffer came back a long time later; if the Daintree community wants a grid they will have to organize it and pay for it themselves... A ridiculous thing to say, it has not been done anywhere else, and is way beyond the capability of ordinary citizens. How can you abandon an entire community and let them live in third world conditions belching out smoke from hundreds of generators while the whole world is going cleaner and greener?

paris accord