Transition to renewables must be paced
SLOWLY but surely, momentum is building for baseload power in the North.
Cane growers today have joined other industry leaders in demanding energy justice.
And they contend the only means of delivering that justice is by building baseload capacity in our region and, more specifically, coal- fired power.
In doing so they echo the views of energyhungry manufacturing firms who have warned soaring power prices could drive them to the wall.
And just to be clear, the cane growers’ position does not appear to be driven by any ideological resistance to renewables.
They are ready to embrace an alternative to fossil fuels – just not one that puts them out of business.
“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,” Canegrowers Herbert River manager Peter Sheedy said.
“It would be premature at this point in time to count on them.”
This is the danger of the current lurch towards a pure, 100 per cent renewable energy supply.
We risk surging way ahead of the curve, in the process driving power prices to levels that will destroy business and jobs in our region.
It is imperative Queensland does not squander its natural advantage over the rest of the world.
We have centuries worth of cheap, reliable power. Our coal can underpin an efficient and, yes, low emission industry that in turn can sustain job growth and prosperity in North Queensland.
At the very least, we must continue to invest in coal in the medium term to ensure that our transition to a low- emissions target is an orderly one.
Bring on real estate recovery
IT’S a tad too soon to pop the champagne corks but, boy, it’s good to see some life returning to our property market.
Real estate is a vital cog in any economy and Townsville is no exception.
After showing some green shoots at the end of 2015, it was flattened again early last year by the collapse of Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickel refinery.
Now, with the worst of that fallout receding, and with a stream of big- ticket projects in the pipeline, evidence is emerging we have begun the long sought- for recovery.
Bring it on.