OK, so if the carbon tax won’t even push us off coal, why on earth impose it?
MASSIVE volatility in carbon prices in Europe and rising gas prices have cast doubt on whether Julia Gillard’s carbon package will be enough to force power stations to switch from coal to gas, Standard & Poor’s will warn today, delivering another blow to the federal government’s clean energy plans.
A report to be released today by the credit ratings agency, obtained by The Australian, suggests that at the end of this decade coal will still be dominant – despite expectations gas will be a transitional fuel to a low-carbon economy under the Gillard government’s carbon scheme.
After the situation in Europe – where carbon prices have fallen to about $10 a tonne, down from between $20 and $33 in past years – Australia’s carbon price could fail to make gas competitive enough to overtake the coal-power stations that produce more than 70 per cent of the nation’s power, the report finds.
On top of this, the competitiveness of coal would be entrenched as gas prices rise because of the boom in liquefied natural gas exports from Australia’s east coast.
And why on earth would investors put up billions to build the power stations we need if they use a form of energy that the Government says should ultimately be scrapped to “stop” global warming?
Treasury modelling with the carbon package estimated gas generation would increase by more than 200 per cent by 2050, with between $1bn and $9bn spent on gas this decade and a total of $50bn to $60bn by 2050. A further $100bn is expected to be spent on renewables and $45-$65bn on coal.
But the Standard & Poor’s report says there is a limited pool of investors to build big gas power stations and that attracting finance would be a “major hurdle”, particularly if investments in gas were delayed beyond the next 10 years.
Madness on top of madness. And those still supporting it must be warned that the accounting will come. Nothing looks more stupid than a mad enthusiasm that’s met reality.
Hey, so much for wanting to put an end to coal fired power. One of the largest generators of electrical power in the State of Queensland, Tarong and Tarong North, near Nanango, generator of around 2000MW of power from its two coal fired power plants, has just completed a $50 Million upgrade at its plants. The work included upgrades to the control systems, the boilers and the turbines. They have also completed work at their nearby coal mine that provides the fuel for the two plants, and all of this work will ensure that the plant will stay operational until well into the 2030’s. That story is at this link.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.