“Coal is and will remain the backbone of Australia’s, indeed the world’s, electricity supply for decades to come” said Malcolm Turnbull on the topic of a new generation of supercritical coal plants. He continued to say “Australia should be a world leader in demonstrating that carbon emissions can be lowered by replacing ageing electricity generators with new technologies to produce cleaner coal.”
The New-generation coal plant proposal comes after governments grow frustrated by tight gas supplies, and with the numbers overseas being built in the thousands, as the world’s largest coal exporter, it would be in Australia’s best economic interest to follow.
The new-generation, high-efficiency coal plants produce half the carbon dioxide emissions of existing ones, making them comparable with gas and furthermore, If the emissions can be captured and stored, they are 90 per cent more efficient than the plants reaching the end of their productive life around the country.
Australia’s emissions would be cut by up to 27 per cent if the country’s coal-based power general ran on ultra-supercritical technology, according to research commissioned by the Turnbull government. In addition to this, the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science carried out research that showed if the technology in development was adopted across Australia emissions would be reduced even further — by up to 34 per cent.
QLD Senator Matt Canavan is also a minister for Resources and Northern Australia and he says not enough emphasis has been put on the technological developments occurring in coal power.
The latest world outlook from the International Energy Agency has tipped annual Australian coal production to increase from 408 million tonnes two years ago to 467 million tonnes in 2040. The Minerals Council of Australia says there are already more than 725 high-efficiency, low-emissions plants already in operation in East Asia alone with a further 1100 plants under construction or in the pipeline.
The IEA Clean Coal Centre says 450 million tonnes of CO2 have already been wiped off China’s annual emissions through their embrace of HELE technologies.
The Minerals Council says it is “simply common sense” that new coal technologies be considered as part of Australia’s efforts to meet its emissions reduction targets while maintaining affordable and secure energy supply. “If Australia ignores the ability of new super-efficient coal generation to provide affordable, baseload energy with a sharply lower carbon footprint, then the costs of our energy transition will be higher and the reliability of our energy system will be lower,” said the Minerals Council. The mining industry also believes coal is the most competitive option available.
To learn more about the new-generation coal plants click here.