Take the blinkers off: Coal is not the answer | RenewEconomy

Take the blinkers off: Coal is not the answer

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When will Turnbull and co, take their blinkers off and recognise Australia should be getting into battery storage, not clean coal.

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coal ausDid I hear Malcolm Turnbull say the Australian government “has invested $590 million since 2009 in Clean Coal Technology and we haven’t got one modern high efficiency low emission coal fired unit, let alone one with CCS technology”?

What an appalling misuse of public money in the hands of the well endowed corporate energy and resources companies, many now seeking tax cuts and further concessions to shut legacy assets to add insult.

Keep in mind, if such a mythical coal burning creation was to be built in 2017, we would not get any change out of spending $2-3 billion for a single 1GW plant that, at best, would be 50 per cent more efficient and not operational until well beyond 2020. Fitting CCS, which is still largely in development, could cost another $2 billion-plus on top of that.

Perhaps that mother load of public funds could have been (should be) better targeted at getting ahead of global market demand and reinvesting into conversion of our soon to disbanded car manufacturing industry and transitioning the allied skills and capabilities into electrical vehicle manufacturing and other RE opportunities.

As demonstrated by the Tesla Gigafactories the need for EV storage parallels with an accelerating global need for magnitudes more battery storage for static renewable energy installations.

When will Turnbull and Co, take their blinkers off and recognise Australia should be getting into lithium (and redux/flow technology) battery manufacturing, and shock horror offer their coal mining benefactors a golden opportunity to diversify by moving into exploration of our substantial reserves and development of lithium mines, and the value adding supply chain.

Put simply, think of the ramifications of building our own battery storage industry? Tens of thousands of direct jobs will be created and in time all those solar and wind systems that are presently in place or being built, but hampered by being intermittent energy generation, could become smart 24/7 capable, delivering cheap power much needed to underpin other economic sectors and new opportunities like hydrogen and biofuels export.

The pot of gold at end of the rainbow is that renewable energy is not the boogie it is made out to be. Regardless, there will have to be huge capital reinvestment in energy infrastructure and we now have a market competitive choices.

The better option, as is quickly being realised at a global level, is to take the renewable energy route, as the extensive R&D and inherent scaleability of project delivery is now delivering turn key prices that are equal, if not below, nuclear, coal and gas equivalence.

In the case of Australia, we can gracefully replace our 40-50GW of existing coal and gas fired infrastructure as it comes due between now and 2070, and still achieve our climate commitments, not break the bank doing it and in all likelihood increase net employment overall, if we do it smart.

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  1. solarguy 3 years ago

    100% correct Trent my boy, go to the top of the class. Especially correct on our car manufacturing industry, what a golden opportunity missed.

  2. Chris Fraser 3 years ago

    Super-hypocritical coal is the Australian allegory of Britain’s Hinckley folly. Every try-hard government has to have one.

  3. howardpatr 3 years ago

    Who knows what renewable energy technologies will bring in the next decade but a read about a company EOS will make you wonder what goes through the minds of Cayman Turnbull and the RWRNJs who direct his governments policies on the renewable energy future.


  4. Simon 3 years ago

    Well said Trent.

    Domestic battery manufacturing is a no-brainer given our world leading position as the number one supplier of lithium. Good to see movement in that direction with construction of a lithium chemical plant in WA and investigation into the production of other battery chemicals such as nickel sulphate by the likes of BHP and Western Areas.

    Battery manufacturing can only help enhance our advanced manufacturing chops and who knows where that will lead to.

    Keep that focus!

  5. Noel 3 years ago

    Rather than “Take blinkers off” they should “Stop the flow of money from coal industry into Liberal Party coffers”. Maybe then Liberal policy will change
    We need a Federal ICAC

    • Miles Harding 3 years ago

      What’s really disturbing is how much perversion of public policy a few donations can achieve. The LNP toads seem oblivious to the great harm being done by their partisan politics. The future if the nation, if not all of humanity and most species is at risk through this reckless disregard for the biospehere’s capacities and limits.

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