May­ors back coal power

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON domanii. cameron@ news. com. au

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.

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