The coal lobby continues to use the so-called South Australian “energy crisis” as a lever to criticise renewable energy and talk up coal, with mining leaders saying that new “high-tech coal fired power” has a future in Australia.
The comments come as new Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has seemingly departed from the long held Coalition script on energy, saying that coal is declining as part of the overall energy mix.
Frydenberg has described the July price hike, which saw prices spike up to $14,000 a megawatt hour in SA, as a “big wake up call.”
But instead of saying the issue means Australia needs to rely more on coal, Frydenberg is more suggesting that a reform of the National Energy Market should be discussed, with the item on the agenda at the upcoming COAG meeting of federal and state governments.
Meanwhile, newly privatised NSW infrastructure provider Transgrid has backed a $500 million interconnector as part of the solution, although this would take several years to complete.
The coal lobby view was put by the Minerals Council of Australia, whose executive director of coal Greg Evans was interviewed by the Australian newspaper, which has been in the vanguard of critiquing renewable energy since the SA “crisis.”
“Government’s should not mandate the composition of the energy mix,” Evans said.
“Instead, they should purse a technology neutral approach, whereby reliable, low-emissions power generation is provided by the lowest cost energy sources available.”
Evans suggested that new generation “high efficiency, low emission” coal fired plans being implemented overseas could form part of Australia’s future energy mix, and could replace ageing and retiring facilities such as the Playford plants in South Australia, which recently closed.