Mayors back coal power
NORTH Queensland sugarcane farming representatives and regional mayors have backed a new coal- fired baseload power station, claiming it would be premature to rely on renewable energy.
Canegrowers Herbert River manager Peter Sheedy said farmers needed reliable and affordable power.
“The issue with renewables at present is that none of them have 100 per cent reliability, that’s the weakness at this point in time,” he said.
“It would be premature at this point in time to count on them.”
Mr Sheedy said policies needed to be directed at affordability and reliability.
“We certainly have a problem with a spiralling nature of electricity costs,” he said.
“Without something reliable and affordable, we don’t have economic growth potential – you won’t attract investment.
“I think we would see a high efficiency low emissions plant as a possibility.”
Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo said the North needed baseload power “full stop”.
“The input costs for canefarmers are just going through the roof and the returns are simply not there,” he said.
He said both renewables and baseload had their place.
Charters Towers Mayor Liz Schmidt said construction of a coal- fired baseload power station was a good idea and “necessary”.
“... And probably based in this area where the coal is mined,” she said. “We are not immune to electricity costs, I can’t see any other way around it.
“As much as we would all like to be clean and green we have to do something.
“We’re looking into solar and we’re working really hard with those providers to do something in that.”
Burdekin Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said access to affordable and reliable electricity was essential for the region to promote development and ensure the sustainability of businesses in the years to come.
“With this in mind, I don’t think one source of power alone should be seen as the solution to all of our power needs,” she said.
“To date, four large- scale solar farms have been approved by council and a fifth is currently going through the application process.
“We’re happy to await the outcomes of all the options, with the aim of securing the best and most reliable solution for our region’s energy needs going forward.”
Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch said rising electricity prices had to be addressed.
“We would welcome anything to be put on the table if something has to considered,” she said.
“We are suffering more so as we have less of a competitive advantage because we’re not on the national grid.
“Gas is much more friendly but coal fired is the cheaper option.”
The State Government is against the construction of a coal- fired power station as it targets zero carbon emissions by 2050.