Senate coal committee report a sellout
The interim report of the Senate Environment and Communications Committee Inquiry into the retirement of coal-fired power stations is a short-sighted, ideologically motivated document, according to free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
"This report is a sell-out of Australian households and businesses, as well as the tens of thousands of people that are employed in coal mines and fossil-fuel power stations around Australia," said Brett Hogan, Director of Research.
"The majority senators' recommendations for the development of "a mechanism for the orderly retirement of coal-fired power stations," a so-called "pollution reduction objective" and an "energy transition authority" could be found in a George Orwell novel."
"The International Energy Agency's recent World Energy Outlook found that coal consumption for electricity throughout the world will increase by 11 per cent over the next 25 years. It makes no sense for Australia to throw its cheap coal power advantage away, when other nations in Asia are moving in the opposite direction."
In 2015 alone, China installed 52 gigawatts of new coal-fired capacity - this is more than Australia's total electricity supply of 47 gigawatts. Over the last 12 months, India has also installed over 18 gigawatts of new coal capacity which is equal to three times Victoria's current total."
"Closing coal-fired power stations in Australia will only increase the price of electricity and the risk of blackouts. In Germany, where a former Greens Environment Minister once claimed that the cost of the transition to renewables would be no more than ‘a scoop of ice cream,' electricity prices are now the second-highest in Europe and still growing."
"Low cost energy is a historic competitive advantage for Australia. When the production of economically viable electricity can also support the employment of thousands of people, particularly in regional Australia, it is a genuine win-win."
"Electricity systems exist to provide safe, reliable and affordable power to consumers and businesses. The role of government should be to support competition and private sector innovation in energy markets," said Mr Hogan.
A copy of the Senate interim report is available here.
A copy of the IPA's submission, Ensuring a Future for Australian Coal-Fired Power Stations, is here.
For media and comment: Brett Hogan, Director of Research, Institute of Public Affairs, on 0407 273 884, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
For media and comment: Evan Mulholland, Media and Communications Manager, on 0405 140 780, or at email@example.com