25 September 2023

Minister puts heat on coal comments

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The Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury has expressed surprise and dismay at comments by the Commonwealth Government’s Minister for Energy welcoming new coal-fired power plants as part of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).

“In some 10 months of negotiations, comments from the Federal Energy Minister that he would welcome new coal-fired power stations have come as quite the unwelcome surprise,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Electricity prices are already high, and consumers will only bear further costs unless the Coalition embraces the modern age of cheap, reliable, renewable energy.”

He said the era of coal was over.

“We need to phase out this technology if we’re to have any chance of a decent future for energy and the environment in Australia,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The NEG plan does not anticipate sudden exits of coal-fired power stations, despite the recent closure of Hazelwood in Victoria.”

He said the brown coal–fired power station gave just six months’ notice of its closure in March 2017 — an increasingly likely scenario that the NEG had yet to account for.

“With some of the lowest electricity prices in the country, the ACT is already showing the way with renewables,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“We will have 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020 and expect to achieve zero net emissions by 2045 at the latest.”

He said that last week the 2018 Lowy Institute’s annual poll on Australian attitudes found that 84 per cent of respondents agreed the Government should focus on renewables, and only 14 per cent said the Federal Government should focus on energy sources such as coal and gas.

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