rss
10

Coal rift? Coalition sends mixed message on new coal power

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Federal treasurer Scott Morrison has described new cheap coal power as “a bit of a myth,” pouring cold water on the Queensland Coalition’s push for a new coal plant in the state’s north, and suggesting a major rift in the LNP over the prospects for coal power in Australia.

Alpha Males and the Lump of Coal.

Scott Morrison and the Lump of Coal.

“Let’s not think that there’s cheap new coal, there’s not,” Morrison said, according to the AFR, adding that a “[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.”

The comments, coming from the same man who brandished a lump of coal in Australia’s parliament, have been seized upon by the Labor party, as a sign of division in the LNP, both between the states and Canberra, and within Turnbull government ranks.

Among those who might disagree with Morrison are deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, who earlier this year said he would support a Clean Energy Target if it resulted in new coal plants. Recently removed Queensland senator and minister for resources, Matt Canavan, is another.

Adding to the confusion, federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg was busy affirming coal’s continued role in Australia’s energy mix – although he remains vague about what exactly that might be.

“We have written to the Australian Energy Market Operator to actually tell us what is needed in terms of dispatchable power, so that has been our clear position for some time,” Frydenberg said.

“Let’s wait and see what the advice of the market operator is as to what type of generation we need in the system. A (new coal) HELE plant does need to be considered, just as thermal gas generation does, just as renewables with storage does.”

But Frydenberg added that the government was keen “to ensure the best possible outcomes in the marketplace if the market itself can’t deliver that.”

Shadow energy minister, Mark Butler, was quick to respond to the apparent “internal divisions and confusion on energy policy” of the LNP.

“Turnbull government ministers can’t agree whether to listen to the market when it comes to new coal power or if they will ignore all advice and choose to invest in new coal themselves,” he said.

“We know the energy industry has repeatedly said they will not build new coal power plants, calling them ‘uninvestable’, a message once again delivered to the government just last week.

“Yet Minister Frydenberg told SKY News yesterday that the new coal-fired power does have a role to play in Australia’s future energy mix … in spite of the fact a month ago he told ABC, ‘We don’t have a plan on the table to build a new coal-fired power station’,” Butler said.

“The division and confusion around the government’s plans for Australia’s energy future are adding to already crippling investment uncertainty and are driving investment away and prices and pollution up.

“Australia desperately needs and deserves a clear energy policy to secure affordable, reliable and clean energy,” he said.

Queensland Labor’s treasurer and acting energy minister Curtis Pitt also got in on the action, acknowledging Morrison’s honesty and generously agreeing that “the LNP’s expensive coal-fired power station would provide no short-term solution to federal government failures in the National Electricity Market.”

Pitt also noted that the Australian Industry Group had predicted electricity bills would need to double to sustain a coal fired power station in North Queensland.

“The LNP and Tim Nicholls don’t care about electricity prices paid by Queenslanders. That’s why power bills increased by 43 per cent under the LNP’s time in office, compared to an average of 1.9 per cent per year under Labor,” he said.

“Renewables are now the cheapest form of new generation to build and there are currently 17 large scale renewable projects financially committed in Queensland, 15 under construction right now – an investment of more than $2 billion supporting jobs in our regions.

“Once operational these projects will increase competition and put downward pressure on prices,” Pitt said.  

Pocket
  • Joe

    Mayday, Mayday……’Coal Overboard’, ‘HELE Coalers Overboard” and Scotty ‘Lump of Coal’ Morrison Overboard. Is there any wonder that The COALition are considered a bunch of clowns as they pretend to run the country. We had Bananaby Joyce doing the sodding for a new solar farm all the while dissing on RE and now we have ‘Lump of Coal’ Scotty chucking that Little Black Wonder Rock back down into a coal pit. But there is still hope for Coal….The NAIF $1Billlions for Adani !!!!!!!!!!

    • john

      The funny side of this it appears the said Bananably Joyce may not in fact be a legitimate member of parliament.
      The LNP is pushing for a Ultra Critical Coal Generator in North Queensland, yes just where they define NQ is interesting, i expect it would be in the south east corner, however where ever it is that does not matter, it can not produce power to meet the market, so who is going to build it only one identity the Government.

      • Chris Fraser

        Lol. Anyway we’re not compelled to ask the ‘italians’ and ‘new zealanders’ what they think is best for our energy system !

  • Mike Westerman

    Oops! The puppet strings just broke…

    • trackdaze

      Seems like that little black rocks lacquer applied by the mineral council has worn off.

      Carefull scomo black lung is a thing.

  • Sally Noel Triggell

    We want coal, when do we want it, now. So goes the coal party I mean the lieberal party. And we don’t care how much it costs you, the mug tax payers.

  • ed

    …a blend of failed math and brain damage….

  • Joe

    Oh and the Fun and Games just keep getting better. There he was… The Nations True Leader…Premier Jay….yesterday at a presser with the announcement of The Port Augusta Solar Thermal Project. I loved Premier Jay’s quip at The COALition that they can keep playing with their Lumps of Coal in Parliament…we’ll ( SA ) just get on with the business of Renewable Energy. And there was Treasurer Tom by his side with his cheeky grin and smile. And thank you ‘Lump of Coal’ Scotty for the $100million to help finance…The Future!!

  • John Burnett

    So ScoMo admits its BS what a surprise (not that it’s BS but that he admits lying). He needs to explain to Captain Blackout that his push on coal is not worth a pinch of sh*t. The COALies must be packing it now that Baaarnaby has found out he’s a kiwi. Their coal agenda may die with the fall of his government. Haha!

  • DevMac

    It’s not just the Liberals divided as a Party, individual members of it are divided against themselves. ScoMo as an individual can’t even hold a consistent position – going from bringing a lump of coal into parliament for political shits and giggles to decrying new coal as too expensive is big chasm to have jumped over.

    At least they’re (slowly, likely against their will) being dragged towards the future (or maybe just the present?). Maybe one day they can detach the rump – but then they’d just be the Labor Party…