On 14 December, the Queensland government finally refused the Clive Palmer-owned Waratah Coal’s application for a new coal-fired power station at Barcaldine.
The Australian Conservation Foundation commends the government for this decision, as one of Steven Miles’ last acts before taking on his role as Premier, confirming that coal-burning is on the way out in Queensland.
We may have just witnessed Queensland’s last coal-fired power station proposal, so I also congratulate the regional Queenslanders that have campaigned for years to stop this misguided proposal because of the way it tried to circumnavigate appropriate approval processes, and because of the damage it would have done to the environment.
Due to the high cost and inefficiency of coal power, coal-fired power stations can no longer compete against more modern technology, and the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan has explained that by 2035 ‘we will have no regular reliance on coal’.
The International Energy Agency has also made it clear there can be no new coal and gas projects if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating.
As the Queensland environment department’s original rejection of Waratah Coal’s application put it, the proposal had ‘the potential to contribute to serious and irreversible environmental harm through its contribution to climate change.’
Coal-fired power is losing out to better, more reliable renewable energy technologies that can create and protect jobs while enhancing quality of life.
In contrast, Clive Palmer’s proposal would promote further intergenerational injustice, with our kids forced to manage, mitigate and mop up the mess caused by unnecessary burning of dirty fossil fuels.
Queenslanders want clean, safe communities and steady sustainable jobs that are powered by reliable, non-polluting, low-cost energy. This is what will make our communities desirable to live in, and keep our heavy industry competitive in the global market.
There is no place for a private company trying to interfere with Queensland’s energy plan which has laid out a pathway to a safer, sustainable future.
This piece was first published by Gladstone Today.