Senator Matt Canavan says coal is a proven performer.
Senator Matt Canavan says coal is a proven performer. Patrick Hamilton.

Canavan dismisses criticism of building a new HELE station

RESOURCES Minister Senator Matt Canavan has slammed criticism about building a HELE coal-fired power station in Australia.

Norman Gardens resident Tom Bradbury expressed his views on the issue and Canavan has fought back.

Don't be so quick to dismiss the future of coal, Tom

YES, Tom Bradbury (RMB, 26/0), I am a proud advocate of our resources sector and particularly the high quality, clean coal we export to the world.

See Tom Bradbury's letter to the editor below.

That's because our coal can actually help reduce global emissions because it burns cleaner than coal from our competitors, giving nations such as China, India and Japan the ability to lower their emissions while providing electricity for their people.

I am agnostic when it comes to the basis of power generation. My mind is open to all fuel sources - whether it be wind, solar or - yes indeed - coal. Coal-fired power stations keep the lights on around our nation and they provide the enormous amounts of reliable electricity needed to power our industries and households.

As amply demonstrated by massive and prolonged power cuts suffered in South Australia and Victoria, closing down coal-fired power stations leaves people and businesses in a vulnerable position, because if the wind ain't blowing, the sun ain't shining and the batteries run out of puff, the lights go off.

It is baseload power from coal-fired power stations which keeps this country running.

Other nations also know this and have embraced high energy, low emissions technology. HELE technologies are proven and being used around the world, with about 360 of them in operation at the end of last year, many of them in our key coal export markets of Japan, China and India. In fact, under the Paris Agreement 24 countries (representing over half of the world's emissions) have made commitments to invest in the latest fossil fuel HELE power plants. That is a good thing for Australia because these power plants run better on the high quality coals that we have, making the Paris Agreement good for Australia's coal sector and good for Australia.

More importantly, the greater use of fossil fuels helps bring millions of people out of poverty.

Over the past 30 years we have experienced perhaps the most miraculous development in world economic history.

Thirty years ago, two-thirds of people in our region lived on less than US$1.90 a day in real dollar terms. Today that figure is less than five per cent, an amazing development for humanity.

That reduction in poverty has come alongside enormous growth in the use of coal in the Asia Pacific region. Coal use over that same time frame has grown sixfold and helped hundreds of millions of people emerge from poverty.

Any clear-eyed, grown-up discussion about future energy options must consider all sources, including coal. I want to keep all options on the table, not pick and choose and discard those which might be politically unpopular.

No responsible government would walk away from a proven performer when it comes to the reliable supply of electricity for the sake of political convenience.

Matthew Canavan

LNP Senator for Queensland

Canavan on wrong track in courting powerful Japanese

SENATOR Canavan, article TMB 23/10/18, is trying to talk a Japanese power company, preferably Mitsubishi, into building a HELE coal-fired power station in Australia with Government underwriting.

He says that this is proposed by the 2018 ACCC Energy Report. The ACCC had proposed underwriting, but not to boost one particular technology or another. The objective was to boost competition.

The words coal and baseload were not used by the ACCC in the context of this recommendation.

Economics 101 says that there will be no new coal-fired power stations built in Australia. Assume two sellers are selling the same product. Seller A's price is twice that of seller B. Seller A is selling electricity from a new HEHE power station. A number of reports have the cost per MWh at $80 and remaining steady with time.

Seller B's electricity is about half that and falling with time. As evidence, in May 2017, the Victorian renewable energy auction set a fixed price for wind of A$50-60 per MWh over 12 years. AGL signed a contract with Silverton wind farm of $65 per MWh fixed over five years.

Back to Econ 101. Assume Seller A builds his power station.

He will sell energy for some years because, due to Government dithering on energy policy, there is not enough competition to force prices down. Eventually, as more renewable generation is commissioned, supply will equal or exceed demand and no one will want Seller A's product. He will be left with a multi-million investment that is unsaleable

Tom Bradbury

Norman Gardens



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