The Australian coal industry welcomes the comments today from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that coal will continue to play a critical role in the delivery of reliable and inexpensive electricity in Australia.
Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter with exports expected to be worth $58 billion in 2016-17.
Importantly, in the Prime Minister’s speech today he acknowledges the need for a ‘technology-neutral’ approach to energy policy which does not preclude the use of high efficiency, low emission (HELE) coal-fired generation.
As the Prime Minister noted:
“we will need more synchronous baseload power and as the world’s largest coal exporter we have a vested interest in showing that we can provide both lower emissions and reliable base load power with state of the art clean coal fired technology”
The significant economic expansion occurring on our doorstop in Asia is heralding a large-scale build of these clean, efficient coal fired generators. The latest International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) forecasts that demand for coal in Asia will grow at 0.8 per cent per year to 2040, with Indian demand growing at 3.6 per cent per year and across Southeast Asia at 4.4 per cent per year over the same period.
There are already 725 HELE units in the region with an additional 1142 units under construction or planned.
To put that in perspective, the new HELE build represents over 32 times Australia’s current coal fired capacity and the build includes the latest and cleanest technology. As the Prime Minister indicated it’s time we saw the most modern and clean coal plants in operation in Australia.
The Prime Minister also spoke about clean coal technologies including carbon capture and storage and the sector looks forward to continuing to work with Commonwealth Government through the industry’s COAL21 Fund, which to date has invested $300 million in a range of significant projects.
Australia’s energy policy must reflect the reality that we need a genuine mix of electricity generation options that deliver affordable and reliable power.
The Australian coal industry welcomes the support from the Prime Minister that coal will have an important role to play in the future.
Note: Sky News presenter David Speers visited a HELE coal plant in Japan in 2015. You can watch his report here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQQ6JLjViZI&t=76s
Source Minerals Council Australia
1 February 2017