​Push from the past: Coal would send Australia backwards

03.04.18 By
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The Climate Council has slammed a fresh push to secure Australia’s ageing and polluting coal-fired power stations, along with calls to build new stations with so-called ‘clean coal’ technology.

The Monash Forum, a group of Turnbull Government backbenchers today signal their support to keep coal at the centre of Australia’s electricity generation for decades to come by securing existing coal-fired stations and building new ones like ‘Hazelwood 2.0’.

Climate Councillor and energy expert Professor Andrew Stock slammed the idea, saying relying on coal does nothing to tackle climate change and reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution levels, which continue to increase year-on-year.

“Coal is always polluting, regardless of how it’s branded – whether the technology is “ultra super critical”, “high efficiency low emissions” or “carbon capture and storage,” he said.

“Why are we putting our faith in old clunkers from last century? Australia must look to the future and modernise its grid through clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology. Renewables are now far cheaper than coal.”

Professor Stock also flagged how expensive new coal is, which becomes exorbitant when carbon capture and storage systems are added.

“Other nations have walked away from this unproven technology. Why should these costs and risks be forced on Australian tax payers?”

“Just last year America’s largest “clean coal” power station scrapped using coal, after its construction costs skyrocketed by more than double, reaching around $7.5 billion (US). And the technology simply didn’t work. The only two stations that do work are cost prohibitive”

Professor Stock said Australia’s transition to a future powered by clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage is already underway, driven by the renewable energy target, state and territory policies, and competitive costs.

“By 2040, 70% of the coal fleet in the National Electricity Market will be 50 years or older, so the orderly transition to renewables and storage is now more important than ever,” he said.

“In order to tackle climate change, the electricity sector needs to cut its carbon pollution by more than 60 per cent by 2030 and head towards zero pollution before 2050. Renewables plus storage is the most cost effective way to do it with proven commercial technology.”

The Climate Council’s Clean Coal Factsheet can be found here. In addition, the Climate Council has created a climate and energy policy roadmap ‘Clean & Reliable Power: Roadmap to a Renewable Future’, outlining 12 key principles that are essential to tackling climate change in Australia.

For more information please contact Senior Communications Advisor Alexia Boland on 0438 972 260.