Federal Energy Minister: ‘no stance’ on new coal fired Hunter Valley power stations

Coalition hedges bets on two proposed coal plants for NSW.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor says that the Coalition has “no stance” on the two proposed Hunter Valley power plants that would be fired by coal.

The Guardian reported this week that an overseas investment firm had teamed with a small Australian company to develop two 1,000 MW “Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Plants” close to Kurri Kurri in New South Wales.

According to Taylor, this is a state, not a federal issue. The Federal Government wants to reduce power prices, keep the lights on and meet international obligations in carbon emission reduction, he said.

Wind and solar power help meet Paris targets: Angus Taylor

The Energy Minister told ABC Ballarat the controversial 2,000 MW ‘mega plant’ did not figure in current government plans. However, he did not rule it out.

Coalition hedges bets on two proposed Hunter Valley power plants for NSW.

Federal Energy Minister hedges his bets on proposed NSW coal plants: EnergyAustralia says coal can’t offer flexible power.

He said: “We don’t have a stance. Ultimately there might be federal planning approval but we’re a long way away from that. The private sector can get on and do what it wants to do.”

Taylor pointed to the “completely unprecedented” amount of wind and solar energy entering the electricity market now.

A record $25 billion investment in renewables will therefore help Australia achieve its Paris Agreement obligation of 26 per cent emission reduction on 2005 levels by early 2020s, he said.

Pumped hydro storage projects, like Snowy Hydro 2.0 in NSW and Tasmania’s ‘battery of the nation’, will also provide back-up.

Solar panels teamed with storage batteries can also provide households with cheap, reliable energy.

Negative reaction to proposed Hunter Valley power plants

Meanwhile, the Australian Financial Review says major industry players are sceptical about the proposed Hunter Valley power plants.

A memorandum of understanding has apparently been signed between Kaisun Holdings Ltd and an Australian company run by Sydney businessman Frank Cavasinni.

As AFR reports, leading power company EnergyAustralia has criticised the deal. The proposed coal fired Hunter Valley power plants won’t be cost-effective because they won’t offer the flexible power needed to back up wind and solar.

The Australian Industry Group has also said new coal plants would face “formidable obstacles”. The body claims the power stations come with future carbon liabilities of $17.4 billion.

Federal energy efficiency plan reduces emissions

Angus Taylor was in the Victorian regional town of Ballarat this week to spruik the Coalition’s Energy Efficient Communities Program.

As a result, the program will bring down carbon emissions by around 60 million tonnes he claims. This will cost $1 a tonne.

The $50 million program will help small to medium-sized business understand and assess their energy usage. Then they can take steps to reduce it. Grants will be provided for businesses and community organisations.