Aus­tralia needs to make a de­ci­sion

Central Queensland News - - YOUR SAY -

I LOVED work­ing at the Collinsville Power Sta­tion from 1975 and was awed by the pre­ci­sion en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion, and enor­mously pow­er­ful ma­chines.

In 1986 I vis­ited a power sta­tion in West Ger­many that was the first to start retrofitting Flue Gas De­sul­phuri­sa­tion plants to their coal fired units to re­duce acid rain that was erod­ing build­ings and mon­u­ments, and killing trees and lakes over Europe.

Health records showed that the re­moval of the sul­phur diox­ide (SO2) from the air had un­ex­pected ben­e­fits, as in­fant mor­tal­ity rates fell in di­rect relationship with re­duc­tions in SO2.

Most de­vel­oped coun­tries have man­dated FGD along with devel­op­ing coun­tries like China, yet Aus­tralia does not have any reg­u­la­tions to re­move SO2 from coal power sta­tions which is ex­ter­nal­is­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal and health costs o nto our com­mu­ni­ties.

Car­bon diox­ide and toxic emis­sions can­not be eco­nom­i­cally re­moved from coal. The CSIRO es­ti­mated in 2014 that the cost to re­place build­ings ex­posed to bush­fires, in­land flood­ing and storm surges caused by cli­mate change at

$1.4 tril­lion by 2100, with ecosys­tem and health costs even higher. These are some of the rea­sons why there is a tran­si­tion to re­new­able en­ergy.

The sci­ence and eco­nom­ics of power are com­plex and qual­ity anal­y­sis is crit­i­cally im­por­tant.

The strat­egy by some ac­tivists, in­dus­try lob­by­ists and politi­cians to sow con­fu­sion and muddy the wa­ters is very un­help­ful to say the least.

Many com­mu­ni­ties have a de­pen­dency on fos­sil fuel in­dus­tries and plan­ning for tran­si­tions to more ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies is vi­tal.

It is es­sen­tial for good gov­er­nance and de­ci­sion mak­ing that all the costs and ben­e­fits are con­sid­ered – it is an ir­re­spon­si­ble and fa­tally flawed strat­egy to try to ig­nore re­al­ity. — Garry Reed

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