Any serious interest from private companies wanting to build a new coal-fired power station in Queensland has been dismissed as little more than an LNP smokescreen, according to the Turnbull LNP Government’s own energy agency.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the future of energy in Queensland was clear, with figures provided to the Turnbull Government’s Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) showing renewables and gas were surging in Queensland, and there was no interest in new coal.
“In fact, AEMO reported the megawatts from proposed coal-fired power generation was ‘zero’,” Mr Bailey said.
“These numbers show solar is booming, with more than 3,700 megawatts proposed.”
“We also have gas, wind, hydro, and biomass projects in the pipeline, but not one skerrick of new coal investment.
“Mr Nicholls needs to be honest with Queenslanders – building a new coal fired power station simply makes no economic sense.”
“As Campbell Newman’s Treasurer and shareholding Minister in Queensland’s electricity businesses, Tim Nicholls talked to overseas investors about buying Queensland coal-fired power stations, not building them.”
“The Palaszczuk Government stopped the Tim Nicholls privatisation of Queensland electricity assets.”
Mr Bailey called on Mr Nicholls and his LNP colleagues to at least acknowledge that Queensland was leading the nation in energy security and lowest wholesale electricity prices.
“Queensland has the youngest, least emission-intensive fleet of coal-fired generation in the country which is well placed to continue to supply reliable electricity for North Queensland as we make the transition to a clean energy future,” he said.
“If the market saw a new coal-fired power plant as viable, companies would have built one already and they haven’t.
“Even the Prime Minister last month rejected funding a NQ coal-fired plant saying: ‘We have no plans to build a coal-fired power station…’
“Meanwhile, his Treasurer, Scott Morrison, said: “New cheap coal is a bit of a myth… And [High-Efficiency Low Emission coal-fired power station] takes seven years to turn up, so if we that is all of a sudden going to make your power bills cheap next month, it won’t.’
“Mr Morrison also admitted a HELE power station would produce electricity seven times more expensive than existing coal-fired generators.
“Renewable energy is undeniably the cheapest form of new energy infrastructure to build in Australia over a new coal-fired power station. In fact assessment of the modelling prepared for the Finkel Review showed that the capital cost of a new ultra-supercritical coal-fired power station is at least 34% more than an equivalent solar farm.”
Mr Bailey said a coal-fired power station would also lock in higher carbon emissions for a generation and a half, and reiterated his call for the LNP, both state and federal, to support a Clean Energy Target (CET).
He said a CET didn’t just make environmental sense, but economic sense as well.
“The Finkel Review modelling also clearly showed a CET would deliver lower electricity prices, more investment and lower emissions compared to a business as usual approach and that households would be around $90 better off per year over the next decade under a CET.
“The Palaszczuk Government is 100% committed to adopting the cheapest and most efficient forms of energy generation to lower power bills and to continuing to use public ownership to back consumers.
“If the LNP had their way, our public energy assets would have been sold off as part of their privatisation obsessed agenda, and many of our cost-saving initiatives under our Powering Queensland Plan would have been impossible.
“The LNP and Tim Nicholls don’t care about electricity prices paid by Queenslanders. That’s why power bills increased by 43% under the LNP’s time in office, compared to an average of 1.9% per year under Labor.”