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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

fear and loathing « Previous | |Next »
August 5, 2008

Matthew Warren in The Australian has an article on ACIL Tasman's recent report on the impact of an emission trading scheme on Australia's electricity market designed to achieve cuts of 10 per cent in greenhouse emissions by 2020. Warren says:

A 10 per cent cut will need $30 billion worth of new-generation infrastructure, including eight to 10 new gas base load power stations and more than 2000 wind turbines in the next decade. All this to be ready in time as at least 10 power stations stop running because they simply go broke under the weight of a price on greenhouse emissions.

Isn't new investment in less polluting industry what we want? So the problem is the going broke bit. What does that mean? Don't we want these old industries to change the way they do things?

Warren says that ACIL Tasman's power station closure schedule reads as follows:

First to the wall will be the small Energy Brix brown coal power station at Morwell in Victoria, run by HRL, followed by International Power's Hazelwood and Loy Yang B power stations and TRU Energy's generator at Yallourn. Babcock & Brown Power will lose both its Playford and Northern power stations in South Australia and at Redbank in NSW. Transfield will lose its Collinsville power station in Queensland, and the Queensland Government will lose a small black coal power station.

Warren says that the lone Victorian brown coal survivor would be Loy Yang A. But, he adds, it's a hollow victory because their operating margins will be shredded, net revenues per kW hour sent out falling by more than 80 per cent.

Warren adds that it will be much the same story for the surviving government-owned coal-fired power stations in Queensland and NSW. Their operating life will be sharply curtailed, peddling hard just to break even. None of them makes a very attractive business venture under an ETS but, then, that's the idea.

So what has happened to the new investment in geo-sequestration that will ensure clean coal? Wasn't technology the answer to dirty coal's greenhouse pollution problems? Why isn't that factored in?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:07 PM |