Essay by Eric Worrall
As ordinary Australians reel from skyrocketing energy prices, and our electricity network hovers on the brink of collapse, the Australian Government is moving to block future coal and gas projects.
Climate impacts could block fossil fuel projects under Plibersek change
The global warming impact of fossil fuels will, for the first time, be factored into the federal government’s environmental assessments as Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek opens the possibility of coal and gas projects being blocked due to climate change.
Until now, federal government assessments only considered a project’s impacts on native wildlife and ecosystems.
However, prompted by a potential legal challenge being launched by the Environment Council of Central Queensland, the government will now consider public comment on climate impacts on the projects, which are all seeking federal approval for their proposed developments.
The coal and gas projects to face greater environmental scrutiny are worth billions of dollars, including Whitehaven’s Narrabri underground coal mine extension in NSW, BHP’s Saraji metallurgical coal mine in Queensland, Glencore’s proposed Valeria coal mine and Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal Alpha North mine in the Galilee Basin.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there would be enough supply to prevent blackouts over the weekend, but Mining and Energy Union Queensland vice president Shane Brunker said the outages created a risk of blackouts if wet weather disrupts other electricity generation or if hot weather increases power demand.
…Read more: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/labor-will-reassess-approval-of-almost-20-new-coal-and-gas-projects-20221104-p5bvke.html
Phrases like “lunatics running the asylum” come to mind.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s comment about enough supply for the weekend is a reference to a severe outage of all four units at Australia’s decrepit Callide coal plant. The plant is scheduled to close in 2028.
The plan is to replace the plant’s 1.7GW of dispatchable output with renewable energy.
One unit of Callide has been out of action since last year, when a hydrogen coolant explosion crippled one of the four power generation units, leading to widespread East Coast power outages.
Australia is that close to grid failure, that an outage at a single coal plant could cause the East Coast grid to collapse – and the people in charge want to throw even more roadblocks in the path of resilience and supply.