Australia abandons coal power plant closure plans

Sep 06, 2012
Coal is stockpiled at the coal port of Newcastle in Australia's New South Wales state in April 2012. The Australian government Wednesday walked away from talks to close down some of the nation's highest-polluting, coal-fired, power stations, in a move condemned by its key coalition partner the Greens.

The Australian government Wednesday walked away from talks to close down some of the nation's highest-polluting, coal-fired, power stations, in a move condemned by its key coalition partner the Greens.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said Canberra had ended its negotiations with the power sector—a major producer of in Australia—because the electricity firms wanted too much compensation.

The talks centred on the closure of five coal-fired plants with 2,000 megawatts of capacity from 2016 as part of the government's plan to reduce carbon emissions by five percent of 2000 levels by 2020.

Ferguson said the government had a set amount of compensation above which it was not prepared to go and there was a "significant difference" between what the companies wanted and how much was on offer.

"I think the Australian community expects us to pursue those negotiations on the basis of what is fair value, because in the end we're dealing with taxpayers' money," he told reporters.

Ferguson stressed that it was just one component of the Labor government's pollution reduction policy, which includes renewable energy targets and a paid by major , which will transition to a European Union-linked carbon in 2015.

The conservative opposition accused centre-left Labor of abandoning the power station plan in a bid to save money and achieve a budget surplus in 2013 as promised.

The environment-focused Greens party, a key partner in Labor's , condemned it as "short-sighted" and called for Ferguson to scale back industry compensation offered as part of the carbon tax plan.

"This is a breach of the commitment made to the public and to the planet to close down our dirtiest coal-fired power stations," said Greens leader Christine Milne.

Australia is among the world's worst per capita polluters due to its reliance on coal-fired power and mining exports.

Electricity generation accounted for 35.3 percent of Australia's total pollution in the year to March, representing 193.1 million of the 546.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted.

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User comments : 5

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Shootist
2 / 5 (4) Sep 06, 2012
[q}Australia abandons coal power plant closure plans

Good for them! No sense sitting in the dark waiting for "green" solutions that don't cost twice as much or more.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2012
Why should they get any compensation at all? The power plants have already paid for themselves and generated a hefty profit?

Just close them down or hit them with a carbon tax.

Austrlia is ideally suited to get power from renewables. Huge open spaces, plenty of sun, and almost all ofthe population near the ocean (where wind and hydr energy are abundant).
Standing Bear
5 / 5 (1) Sep 07, 2012
Yeah, just nationalize those power plants without compensation?! They apparently will not do this...why? Many years ago, the Aussies refused entry to our nuclear powered ships into their harbors in a 'statement against nuclear power' They, it turns out, are rich in uranium. Now the Chinese are big users of uranium and eager buyers of Aussie fission fuel. If the Aussies were such true blue anti nuke freaks, then WHY do they sell this to their 'enemy at the gates', the Chinese who are aping the old Imperial Japanese in establishing a greater Asian 'co-prosperity sphere' in seizing the international waters of the South China Sea against virtually not a whimper of opposition. Could it be that the Aussies are cowards and run from their 'ideals' when faced down? Could it also be that they have also allowed the Chinese to buy into their vital industries and the power sector as well? Now wonder these lily livered chickens backed away from the coal companies.
TransmissionDump
1 / 5 (2) Sep 07, 2012
Standing Bear:

Not all of us think that way. Most of our politicians unfortunately do though. Hell, they just approved a Chinese buy out of our largest farm 'Cubbie Station' told us it's good for the country..
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Sep 07, 2012
Many years ago, the Aussies refused entry to our nuclear powered ships into their harbors in a 'statement against nuclear power'

It might have something to do with having had nuclear test on their soil. That tends to put people off the stuff.

Nuclear 'far off' seems to be preferrable to 'nuclear close to home'. Though, if Chernobyl and Fukushima have taught us anything: There is no 'far off' with nuclear disasters.
Could it also be that they have also allowed the Chinese to buy into their vital industries and the power sector as well?

Isn't that the whole point of capitalism? The goods (in this case businesses) go to the highest bidder.

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