The Hunter will be a big loser out of Labor’s energy policy after Opposition leader Bill Shorten announced last week his intention to increase the renewable energy target (RET) to 50 per cent and give hundreds of millions of dollars to big energy retailers already making record profits.
It seems the experience of South Australia’s 50 per cent RET, which failed to keep the lights and delivered residents the third-highest energy prices in the world, has not been heeded.
In response to Labor’s energy policy, Matt Howell CEO of Tomago Aluminium which supports 1800 jobs in the Hunter, said: “The fact is the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. And when we need that energy, it has to come from thermal. We hear quite frequently that batteries are the solution, but the stark reality on the ground is the largest battery in Australia would run this smelter for less than eight minutes. That is clearly not a solution.”
As pensioners struggle to make ends meet, Labor’s new energy policy will have them pay an extra $200 a year in their electricity bills, according to the Climate Change Authority modelling.
The promise of $2000 towards a $20,000 battery is also flawed.
There is nothing fair about the idea of pensioners and struggling families beholden to repayments on a home battery system over 10 years that could be outdated in a couple of years.
Families are paying on average $2235 a year just to keep the lights on in Newcastle and there is still no like-for-like replacement planned for Liddell power station.
A new high efficiency low emissions (HELE) coal fired power station should be built in the Hunter Valley as a like-for-like replacement for Liddell.
China has 299 new HELE coal fired power plants under construction, followed by India, building 132 and Indonesia is planning a further 32.
Many of them will use the high quality coal from the Hunter.
We’ve seen what happens when big coal fired power stations close like when Hazelwood in Victoria closed last year, Victorians saw a 16 per cent increase in their household bills.
Let’s get the power bills of families down and keep businesses like Tomago open by getting on with building a new HELE power station using the world’s best coal, mined in the Hunter.
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