The chair of Australia’s Energy Security Board – and one of the chief architects of the federal government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee – has uttered the words that no minister of the Coalition dares to speak: there is no appetite for new coal power in Australia’s energy market.
Speaking at the 2018 Future Thinking conference, hosted by the Energy Users Association of Australia, Dr Kerry Schott opened her presentation with some slides charting the falling cost of renewables, and with an assurance that no new coal power would be built, NEG or no NEG.
“I can assure you that, unless there’s a change of technology, there would be absolutely no way that anybody would be financing a new coal-fired generation plant,” Schott said.
“So, people might want to see them go faster, but they’re going anyway.”
The comments come as the Tony Abbott-led far-right faction of the Turnbull LNP government – the unfortunately named Monash Forum – intensifies its push for a National Energy Guarantee that guarantees support for coal plants, old and new.
“Cheap power was once Australia’s chief comparative advantage in the manufacturing sector and we can’t abandon it if we are to remain a country that makes things,” the Forum said in an open letter last month.
“That’s why all Australian governments must overcome their current coal-phobia and ensure that coal-fired power stations continue to be built.”