IF The Greens have their way there will be no future growth in coal fired electricity generation in NSW — a move that would clearly have grave implications for the Lithgow district economy if ever it became a reality.
In their latest attack on the region’s most important industry The Greens this week announced they are introducing legislation into the NSW Parliament to prohibit the development of the Mt Piper Extension at Portland and the new Bayswater B Power Station in the Upper Hunter.
The No New Coal Power Bill 2012 would also stop the planning approval process for the massive Cobbora coal mine between Mudgee and Dubbo.
Approvals for building the two new coal-fired power stations were granted in January 2010 by former Planning Minister Tony Kelly as part of the Keneally government’s power privatisation plans.
According to Greens Upper House spokesman Jon Kaye the two 2000 MW power stations will produce 25.2 million tonnes of CO2 each year which would increase NSW’s total emissions by a massive 16 per cent, and the state’s electricity industry’s contribution to climate change by 43 per cent.
He said these power stations have also been approved to be powered by gas which would approximately halve their emissions but will still result in an eight per cent increase in the state’s emissions.
“The Mt Piper development site was sold to TruEnergy as part of the gentrader bundle in November 2010.
“The Bayswater site is still publicly owned but will be part of the O’Farrell government’s privatisation.
“The Cobbora coal mine project is designed to provide cheap coal to the state’s power stations when existing contracts expire,” he said.
Mr Kaye said if approved by the planning department it will supply 20 million tonnes of coal a year and will be responsible for up to 53 million tonnes of CO2 each year being pumped into the atmosphere.
“The new power stations would flood the state with cheap electricity and undermine the viability of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” he said.
“Thousands of new jobs in the solar and wind sectors would be lost.”
A University of Newcastle report predicts 73,800 jobs in NSW in renewable energy and energy efficiency if the state government invests in a green energy future.
Mr Kaye said the Keneally government’s approval of Bayswater and the Mt Piper extension was based on a flawed study to justify the need for new baseload power.
He said the privatisation of the electricity industry and the sale of the Upper Hunter power stations will be barriers to building solar thermal power stations to replace coal-fired generators.
The Greens’ No New Coal Power Bill 2012 is intended to:
• Rescind the approvals for coal and gas fired power stations at Mt Piper Extension and Bayswater B.
• Prohibit the NSW government from selling the Bayswater B site.
• Authorise the NSW government to re-purchase the Mt Piper site at a fair market rate from TruEnergy, at the value the site would have had with the approval.
• Stop the planning process for the Cobbora coal mine and ban the development of a mine on that site.