The federal Coalition-backed campaign to build a tax-payer funded “high efficiency, low emissions” coal fired power plant in the north of Queensland now has its own poster child, after the release of “fresh imagery” to illustrate what this mythical beast might look like.
Published in News Limited newspapers on Friday, the mock-up of a HELE coal plant appears to have been commissioned by former AGL staffer Nathan Vass, who now heads up his own coal “advocacy vehicle,” the Australian Power Project.
First impression of an unwanted, slightly less polluting HELE #coal plant proposal, to be bought by you via NAIF $1bn subsidy to help @GChristensenMP get re-elected https://t.co/ZL2XqKU812pic.twitter.com/bw8QE4dwhc
— Tim Buckley (@TimBuckleyIEEFA) November 9, 2017
Vass told the Herald Sun that the imagery – pictured in the Tweet above, and reportedly modelled on Germany’s Mannheim coal plant – was meant to provide north Queenslanders with “an idea of what could generate their power in the future.”
It’s an interesting take on the future, to be sure – and one that will require a massive subsidisation from the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.
Why? Because, as the Energy Security Board’s Kerry Schott noted in a webinar on Friday, they’re “actually very expensive per megawatt.”
What is more, they actually very expensive at a time when the cost of other key energy technologies – solar, wind, battery storage and energy management software – are, as Schott put it, coming down dramatically.
“Unless somebody has a technological breakthrough on that front, I wouldn’t anticipate any new coal after the current fleet retires,” she said in a webinar aimed at exploring the detail of the National Energy Guarantee.
But where there’s NAIF, there is a way. And Vass, and certain members of the federal Coalition – including the newly reinstated minister for resources and northern Australia, Matt Canavan – are not giving up.
The article said that Vass – who in past communications with RenewEconomy has denied being a paid lobbyist for the fossil fuel industry – and his APP had worked closely with local Dawson MP, George Christensen, who has been busy gathering signatures in support of the new coal plant.
“We think that the time is right for a brand new HELE plant to be built,” Vass told the paper. “This would be the first time from the ground-up on a large scale.
“There’s no answer at the moment as to where energy will come from in the next 10 to 15 years. Commonly I’m hearing it could be built in two to four years.”
Really? We’ll just put this here…
And this, while we’re at it…