Keep coal fired powering the nation: can the coal fired closures!

Aug 31, 2023

KAP Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, is calling on the Federal Government to immediately suspend the closures of six huge coal fired power stations over the next six years and make the necessary improvements to ensure that the national electricity grid has adequate and reliable supply.

The call comes after the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) warned of substantial widespread blackouts over the next ten years due to an energy shortfall[i].

Mr Katter said that the six power stations scheduled for closure were Eraring Power Station (2880MW – due to close in 2025)[ii], Yallourn Power Station (1480MW – due to close in 2028)[iii], Vales Point Power Station (1320 MW – due to close in 2029)[iv] and Callide B (700MW – due to close in 2028)[v].

Liddell power station (1700MW) closed on time in 2023, which would indicate the others will close on time as scheduled.

He warned that as result of these closures there was over 8,000MW coming off the national grid.

“The national demand is 32,500MW. We are told that there is a supposed to be 2,000MW coming onto the grid from Snowy 2.0 and 600MW from a gas fired power plant at Kurri Kurri – but if they are removing 8,000MW from coal, then there is a 5,500MW shortfall.”

Mr Katter said that instead of canning the coal-fired power stations, the Government should immediately invest in the transformation of the coal-fired sector to Highly Efficient, Low Emission (HELE) power stations that capture the CO2 output via algae pond technology.

“CO2 is a very valuable resource, and we should be making money out of it where you have a concentrated resource out of it. But there seems to a complete vacuum on intelligence in Canberra, but you’d expect that from a town that has legalised marijuana. No wonder the country is going to pot.

“It seems like they can’t understand that without power, the lights go out. Without power, you can’t charge your fancy electric vehicles. Without power, there are no TVs, washing machines or air conditioners.

“Instead, they still plan on bringing in 700,000 people over the next 12 months and we haven’t got enough power to power the people that are living here now.

“It’s absurd that there is not one single proposal to fill that nearly 6,000MW gap on the national grid. It is just unbelievable moronic behaviour from a government preoccupied with running around predicating self-indulgences like “the Voice”.

Mr Katter said that it takes five years to build new coal fired power plants and action must be taken immediately to make up the slack to either commission new coal fired, or make the repairs needed to keep the plants listed for closure open.

“Sadly, they have no intention of doing either. And what makes the sting worse is that China is buying massive amounts of coal to build coal fired power stations in China to produce the solar panels we buy to make ourselves feel good. So, something is going very wrong here.”

Mr Katter submitted a question on notice to the Minister for Energy, Hon Chris Bowen, last month pointing out the shortfall. The Question on Notice reads:

HON BOB KATTER: To ask the Minister for Energy —

(1) Is the Minister aware that Australia has a current peak demand of electricity of 32 000 Mega watts with a further need for additional supply to cover periods when power generators are out of order?

(2) Can the Minister confirm that over the next 6 years some 8080 Mega watts of electricity will be taken from supply with the closures of Lidell (2023), Eraring (2025), Yallourn and Callide B (2028) and Vales Point (2029)?

(3) Can it be further confirmed that the only significant power generator coming online is Snowy II (2029) with an anticipated maximum output of 2 000 Mega Watts?

(4) It appears from these figures that by 2030 Australia will have a 6000 MW shortfall in electricity supply if demand stays at current levels?

(5) On this basis, could you please explain how Australians in 2029 are going to be able to consistently heat and cool their homes, cook their food and turn on their lights? How are business going to consistently power their electronics, manufacturer goods and provide services?

(6) Minister, in such circumstance, where there is already a significant deficit between supply and demand, what will happen when one of our main electricity generators break down and go off-line?

(7) Can you reassure Australians that their homes, business, schools and hospitals will have sufficient and consistent affordable electricity to function in 2033?

Mr Katter is yet to receive a reply.