Concern for what new coal plant means for Gladstone workers
CONCERNS have been raised about plans for a new coal-fired power station in Central Queensland and what it could mean for the future of Gladstone Power Station.
In a letter to federal counterpart Angus Taylor, Queensland energy minister Anthony Lynham expressed concern about whether the viability of a new coal plant was based on assumptions on when existing power stations would close.
"In particular, I am concerned about the potential impact on the approximately 250 employees of the privately owned Gladstone Power Station and their families, and the assumptions your report makes about their future," he said.
Last month the Federal Government announced funding for a $4 million feasibility study into Shine Energy's proposal to build an energy park at Collinsville - including a 1000MW coal-fired power station.
Dr Lynham's letter stated that Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud confirmed a report that the feasibility study had been completed.
In response Mr Taylor said Dr Lynham was trying to upset powerhouse workers, and that the demand for energy was going up, not down.
"Just lies," Mr Taylor said.
In an interview with The Australian last year, Shine Energy chief executive Ashley Dodd said the proposed Collinsville plant would help lower carbon emissions by phasing out dirtier plants such as Gladstone's.
If it went ahead, the $2 billion project would couple an ultra-supercritical coal plant with a solar PV farm.
In October last year the Australian Energy Market Operator reported the expected closure of the 1680MW Gladstone Power Station would be 2035.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher backed Dr Lynham's comments and yesterday called on Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd to "come clean" on what the Collinsville business case meant for the city's power station.
"Mr O'Dowd needs to put pressure on Mr Taylor to release that business case immediately," he said.
In response Mr O'Dowd said the request was an election ploy and there was no intention to shut down the power station before its time.
He said he would work closely with part-owners Rio Tinto to extend its life beyond the current expectancy.
Dr Lynham's letter suggested other options that could support the state's electricity market.
It pointed to analysis that found an increase to renewable energy could deliver reliable and affordable electricity while achieving significant reductions of emissions.