Australian news, and some related international items

Industry request for Clean Energy Finance Corporation funds for new coalmining!

exclamation-fossil-fuel-fightback-1Government green bank receives funding request for $1.2 billion coal-fired power plant, The Age, Adam Morton Amy Remeikis 28 Feb 17   The Turnbull government’s push for taxpayers to finance new coal-fired power stations is facing its first test after an application for support was lodged with the national green bank.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation chief Oliver Yates told a Senate estimates hearing that the agency received an email on Friday from an unidentified company requesting a loan for a proposed $1.2 billion, 900 megawatt coal plant with carbon capture and storage.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the plan, but energy industry experts noted the size and estimated cost were similar to a previous proposal by former mining magnate and MP Clive Palmer for a generator in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Speaking to Fairfax Media on Monday night, Mr Palmer said he had “retired” and directed questions to Waratah Coal managing director Nui Harris. But he said the company had spent $20 million on a similar plant under the Gillard government and the project was in a “high state of readiness”.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is banned from financing capture and storage technology, which involves burying the greenhouse gas emitted in burning coal underground. Dropping the ban would require a challenging change in legislation – a step likely to be opposed by Labor and the Greens.

Mr Yates said he believed new coal plants were not commercially viable unless the government was willing to indemnify the owner for the life of the plant.

He said the indemnity would need to cover any future climate change policy – an unquantifiable sum covering decades – and potential delays in construction due to protests.

Mr Yates, a former Macquarie Bank executive director who is stepping down as head of the finance corporation, said he was not aware of any bank that would be willing to lend to a project that may not be viable.

“I don’t see that as a sensible risk position for the taxpayer to take,” he said.

“If a private sector participant wants to go and build anything – they want to build a theme park, want to build the Eiffel Tower – it may not be economically sensible, but they are entitled to go and do it if they want to.”…….

Mr Yates said among the risks facing coal proposals was the falling cost of renewable energy. Coal generators would need to compete to sell the electricity they produced.

An analysis by consultants Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently found new coal plants, with emissions up to 25 per cent lower than Australia’s existing plants, would be more expensive than gas, wind or solar power. Adding carbon capture and storage would dramatically further increase the cost. …….


March 1, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics

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