10 March, 2017
Courtesy of the Townsville Bulletin (print edition)
Of all the key issues facing Townsville at this crucial point in the city’s history, it’s possible no topic is more clouded in ideology than the debate over secure and affordable energy.
While it’s true that water, unemployment and crime are still used as political footballs at least our leaders have started acknowledging they are problems in need of new solutions.
But when it comes to securing cheap electricity to support our industries and develop the North the ideological divide could not be deeper and more desperate.
We are facing a political emergency with recent large-scale blackouts in southern states while locally major businesses are facing prohibitive costs as they pour millions into our economy.
Throughout this debate the idea of a highly efficient clean coal-fired power station in North Queensland has emerged as a solution for both Townsville and the nation.
The increasingly convincing argument is that phasing in clean-coal technology, starting in this region, would help reduce our total emissions while also offsetting transmission costs.
It’s an idea with merit that must at least be given careful thought by our elected representatives.
However if you spruik the concept to the Palaszczuk Government you run the risk of being labelled mad, negligent, stupid or all of the above.
What a cop out for the lucky few on George St to sit in their brand new skyscraper and tell regional businesses to wait for solar savings that may not come at all.
Meanwhile the power bill for Sun Metals jumps 44 per cent in a year.
There’s no doubt renewable energy will play an increasingly important role in our future energy mix but surely a considered transition is best practice.
As Nathan Vass of the Australian Power Project points out, you can look to the rest of the world for an endorsement on the possibility of clean coal.
The least the Palaszczuk Government could do is look out window from the 41st floor and consider some ideas that weren’t dreamt up over a vanilla latte.