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Government must prepare coal communities for for energy transition

The International Energy Agency (IEA) overnight sounded the death knell for global coal demand and yet there is still no credible plan for diversifying regional economies of Lithgow and the Hunter. [1]

“The people of Lithgow and the Hunter region are being let down by political leaders who have failed to prepare for the inevitable changes facing their community,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“The International Energy Agency yesterday forecasted the steady decline in coal demand over the next 10 to 20 years. 

“It has warned coal-fired power will decline to less than 20 per cent of the world's energy by 2040, virtually spelling the end of the coal era.”

IEA chief Faith Birol said: Solar PV is now consistently cheaper than new coal- or gas-fired power plants in most countries, and solar projects now offer some of the lowest cost electricity ever seen. [2]

“There are huge opportunities beyond coal for the Hunter and Lithgow regions, but they will require investment by the government and business.

“These regions can’t reach its post-coal potential alone - it needs substantial support from the state and federal governments. That support is conspicuously lacking.

“Change in our energy systems is gathering pace so coal communities need government help to get on board or they will be left behind.

“Germany has created a 40 billion euro fund to help its coal communities develop new economic opportunities. 

“We need something similar to ensure our communities don’t suffer because of the rapid international shift away from coal.

“We call on the NSW government to set aside a substantial fund, with billions of dollars to ensure no worker is left high and dry and that coal mining regions will have sufficient resources to adapt economically.”

References

[1] International Energy Agency: coal has surrendered to solar, SMH, 14-10-20

[2] International Energy Agency Press Release, 13-10-20 


Media contact: James Tremain | 0419 272 254

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