Australia Comment: Who will benefit from a new coal-fired power plant in Queensland?

07:31  14 february  2020
07:31  14 february  2020 Source:   crikey.com.au

Minister says Queensland doesn't need a new coal-fired power station

  Minister says Queensland doesn't need a new coal-fired power station Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch on Sunday pushed back against a federal government announcement that it had set aside $4 million to investigate a new coal-fired power plant.Queensland does not need a new coal-fired power station but coal will remain part of the state’s energy mix for some time, state Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch says.

Comments & replies. Politically connected power baron Trevor St Baker says there is no way a new coal - fired power plant will proceed at Collinsville unless the Morrison government agrees to shield the project from a change Scott Morrison leaves open indemnification of new coal - fired power station .

for a new coal - fired power plant in north Queensland during question time on Tuesday. One of many obstacles preventing private investment in new coal - fired power generation is that The former resources minister Matt Canavan, who lost his cabinet post last week after lining up behind Joyce’s

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Mining giant Glencore has managed to keep its name more or less out of the news that the government has backed a proposal for a new coal-fired power plant in northern Queensland.

Which is interesting, given the company has been lobbying for a new “high efficiency, low emissions” (HELE) plant in Australia for some time now.

a person riding a snowboard down a snow covered mountain© Provided by Crikey But Inq can reveal that the multinational is hoping to develop a coal supply agreement with Shine Energy, the company behind the recently announced $4 million government-backed feasibility study into the new plant in Collinsville.

Govt to spend $6m on Qld power projects

  Govt to spend $6m on Qld power projects Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says the federal government is backing two new electricity generation projects in Queensland. The federal government says it will spend up to $6 million on two new Queensland electricity generation projects, including a coal-fired power plant, as part of a bid to lower power prices.About $2 million has been set aside for a pre-feasibility study on a 1.5 gigawatt (GW) hydro electric plant to be developed as part of the planned Urannah Water Scheme, while up to $4 million will support a feasibility study for a 1GW "high efficiency, low emissions" coal plant at Collinsville.

Trevor St Baker says Collinsville coal plant would need shielding from climate policy change. McCormack faced a spill motion last week, largely driven by disgruntled Nationals MPs who want the Coalition to support the development of a new coal - fired power station in Queensland .

“To put public money into coal - fired power is an insult to bushfire-affected communities, many of which have been leading With Michael McCormack’s leadership under pressure, the government unveiled a feasibility study to examine the prospects for a new coal - fired coal plant at Collinsville in Queensland .

The government’s support for the project follows an intense campaign led by rebel Nationals MPs, including former resources minister Matt Canavan, as well as Michelle Landry and George Christensen.

The announcement has driven a wedge into the Coalition over climate, even though experts say there is no market for the plant unless the government indemnified it to the tune of billions.

But it’s not exactly clear who has been pushing the project, and who stands to benefit the most from the proposal — if it ever goes ahead.

Shine Energy, a First Nations traditional owner company based in Brisbane, is responsible for the plan. Its chief executive, Ashley Dodd, has been campaigning for the plant alongside the Queensland Nationals triumvirate, spruiking the project on Andrew Bolt’s show last year.

Welcome to Collinsville, the new home of the climate wars 

  Welcome to Collinsville, the new home of the climate wars  This small Queensland town is at the centre of a bitter debate over coal-fired power.Now, the tiny mining town in northern Queensland is at the centre of a bitter dispute over coal-fired power between moderate Liberals and conservative Nationals.

Far from considering new coal - fired power stations , the real debate is about how fast existing ones will be closed. Attempts to form a government in Germany have foundered on If the policies being pushed by the LNP, nationally and in Queensland , are implemented, there is virtually no chance that

any new coal - fired power stations in Queensland , despite the Turnbull government planning to use the billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund who is attempting to transform the state's power mix from 7 per cent to 50 per cent renewables in the next 13 years - said new "clean coal" power

a yellow truck driving down a dirt road© Provided by Crikey

Collinsville already has a decommissioned power plant, built in the ’60s, that was switched off in 2018. The town is also home to one of Australia’s oldest coal mines, which is owned by Glencore. The mine has been running on and off for almost 100 years and was most recently reopened in 2017.

The Australian reported last year that Shine’s proposal for a new power plant had received the initial backing of Glencore, which said it would provide the company with “project management and governance expertise during the feasibility phase of the project”.

In a statement to Inq, Glencore said while it did not have a financial stake in the project, it said a new plant, if viable, would benefit its supply chain.

“We have indicated we would consider a coal supply agreement to the project, given we have a mine located nearby,” a spokesperson said.

Glencore has done a lot of work to lobby for a new HELE plant in Queensland. In November, chief executive Ivan Glasenberg met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to argue that a HELE coal-fired power station should be part of Australia’s energy mix as it transitions to renewables.

Federal Labor critical of Coalition's coal study, while not ruling out blocking mines and power plants

  Federal Labor critical of Coalition's coal study, while not ruling out blocking mines and power plants Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce is backing a study into a new coal power plant while painting himself as a champion of the poor, so they can have "affordable power" — but deputy Labor leader Richard Marles says the market is "not touching this with a barge pole".The Federal Government announced $6 million would be spent on two feasibility studies for new electricity generation projects, including a coal-fired power plant at Collinsville in north Queensland.

"The decline in new coal plants in Asian countries is truly dramatic, and shows how a perfect storm of factors is Image caption Investments in solar power in India have soared in recent years. "Growing awareness of the air pollution problems coal causes, the impact of policies to tackle climate change

Bayswater power station . Labor wants a transition plan for workers who lose their jobs as ageing power stations are shut down. It also says the Turnbull government must stop funding new coal - fired power plants because commonwealth funding does not represent value for taxpayer dollars.

At the time, Glencore told The Australian Financial Review: “Glencore believes government policy should be extended to support all low emission technologies, including HELE and CCS [carbon capture storage] which can co-exist with renewables.”

Glencore would not say whether this discussion involved the Collinsville power plant. “Glencore meets with local, state and federal government officials from both major parties on a regular basis across a wide range of issues,” the spokesperson told Inq.

A new HELE plant has been part of Glencore’s “clean coal” agenda for some time. In a sustainability document from May 2018, it said its strategic response to climate change was to give “support for low emission technologies” including “advocating HELE technology”.

“HELE and CCS exist and are proven technologies; the economics will markedly improve with the right public policy backing — policy parity is required for this,” it said.

And then there’s Project Caesar. Project Caesar was Glencore’s secret, multimillion-dollar astroturfing campaign to prop-up coal demand by undermining environmental activists and spreading sophisticated pro-coal messaging on social media.

The campaign was uncovered by The Guardian last year, and was orchestrated by none other than world-renowned spin doctors the C|T group, the firm founded by Sir Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor.

The campaign was reportedly responsible for posts by the now-defunct Facebook group, Energy in Australia, which attacked renewables while supporting HELE coal plants through memes and graphics. The page’s posts were shared by George Christensen at the time.

Inq sought comment from Shine Energy.

Labor Party 'split' on coal, climate change .
Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell says “there is a split in the right of the Labor Party spearheaded by Joel Fitzgibbon who wants more action on coal”. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said he had no concerns about a secret group of pro-coal members and senators inside the Labor Party. The so-called ‘Otis Group’ reportedly wanted to push the party to the right on disputed issues including climate change and coal.

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