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the “too hard, too costly” fear « Previous | |Next »
August 29, 2011

As we know from the State of Environment Reports from 1996 onwards the economic pressures on the environment are increasing. On this kind of trajectory the future is one in which the coastal zone will be a mess, much of our agricultural land will be degraded, our loss of biodiversity will be appalling and we will face disastrous consequences of climate change: heatwaves, droughts, severe bushfires, extreme storms and flood events.

So its time to start closing down the coal-fired power stations, especially those that rely on brown coal, like this one in Port Augusta, South Australia, that is run by Alinta Energy and which relies on dirty brown coal railed in from Leigh Creek.

Playford Power Station
Gary Sauer-Thompson, Playford Power Station, Port Augusta, South Australia

Thankfully the Commonwealth has made it quite plain that Playford B will have to be decommissioned. It is actually one of two plants. The other is Hazelwood in Victoria. Those two plants will be closed by way of a contract for closure. Playford B will become a gas- fired plant.

The question is not whether or not we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but rather how we reduce them. The coal companies, of course, are engaged in crazy scaremongering and they abruptly dismiss the potential of renewable energy sources. As Giles Parkinson says at Climate Spectator they have the power to block the massive wind resources on the Eyre Peninsula:

This would need more grid infrastructure as well as a bigger interconnector to Victoria to distribute the surplus energy. But, as that state’s attorney general has pointed out, this has been fiercely resisted by the big coal generators because – wait for it – it will lower wholesale energy prices and cause their profits to diminish.

The coal generators exploit the fear of cleantech that circulates through through Australian politics and which often takes the “too hard, too costly” form. The big miners keep calling for the government to build nuclear energy plants to supply some of Australia's future electricity needs.

This fear of cleantech is reinforced by News Corporation, which is a crucial pedlar of junk science in both the US and Australia, and which has a negative stance to renewable energy. In fact the potential solutions to global warming get an even rougher ride in this press than climate science itself, with this negativity is often premised on disinformation about the costs of renewable energy policies on household bills. These costs are wildly inflated.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:59 PM |