13 December 2018

Taxpayers must not be forced to underwrite coal-fire power

The Morrison government must not burden taxpayers with the cost of underwriting new or expanded coal-burning power generation.

“Voters have signalled loud and clear they want action on climate change,” Nature Conservation Council Campaigns Director Daisy Barham said.

“They clearly do not support the Morrison government locking in decades of pollution by underwriting new coal-fired power projects or extending the life of existing facilities.”

Ms Barham said energy industry insiders believed the government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments proposal, announced today [1], could facilitate an extension of the Vales Point power station near Lake Macquarie.

“Vales Point will be 50 years old in 2028 and well past its use-by date,” Ms Barham said.

“Just three years ago, the NSW Government sold it to entrepreneur Trevor St Baker and his associates for just $1 million but last year the facility was valued at $270 million.

“Mr St Baker and his associates have already benefited enough from the taxpayer – they should not be given more.”

Ms Barham said Vales Point was responsible for more than 13% of the carbon emissions from the state’s electricity sector.

“This dirty facility must be phased out before 2022 to ensure the NSW Government honours its pledge to make the state carbon neutral by 2050,” she said.

“When Vales Point opened in 1978, the Bee Gees’ Saturday Night Fever was topping the charts and Grease had just hit cinemas. The era of this old technology is well and truly over.

“Vales Point has been allowed to release mercury, sulphur-dioxide and nitrogen-oxides at levels that are far higher than those allowed in the European Union and China.

“It is time to close these old power stations and upgrade to better technology like solar, wind and storage that don’t pollute our air and climate.”

[1] http://www.environment.gov.au/energy/underwritingnewgeneration

 

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