Boggabri coal-fire power station back on the agenda

SUPPORT: A recent survey found more than half the state supported the idea of a new coal-fired power station.
SUPPORT: A recent survey found more than half the state supported the idea of a new coal-fired power station.

THERE are renewed calls for a coal-fired power station in the Namoi region, as the government looks to fill the void that will be left in the nation’s power supply when the Liddell station closes.

Chair of the New England Nationals Electorate Council, Russell Webb, said high-energy low-emissions (HELE) power stations were being successfully used in developed nations such as Germany and Japan.

He’s previously suggested Boggabri would be the perfect location for such a plant. It would provide the local community with jobs and a “kick back” from the nearby coal, rather than seeing it exported overseas.

“A lot of other nations are using our coal – why aren’t we using it to create reliable base-load for our businesses and to create employment opportunities for our residents?” Mr Webb asked.

Mr Webb recently discussed the issue with sidelined Resource Minister Matt Canavan, who has stepped away from the portfolio until the High Court rules on his dual citizenship, at the Nationals federal conference in Canberra.

“It is abundantly clear that if we don’t build some HELE stations within this generation, then we are doing the workers of this country a huge disservice,” Mr Webb said.

Mr Webb says the HELE station would be able to provide the state with reliable base-load power for the next 30 to 50 years, by which point the technology for other energy sources will have advanced enough to make them viable options.

“We are not against renewables, they will be a very big part of our energy future, but that’s still some way off in the future,” he said.

In a letter to the editor, former Tamworth mayor Warren Woodley echoed Mr Webb’s calls.

“I also would like to see a power station built in the Namoi area,” he wrote.

“We could power all towns between the Hunter and Queensland border, also right out west, using the best of local coal and water from this area.”

The renewed call comes as a survey by the NSW Minerals Councils finds 64 per cent of NSW residents support the construction of a new coal-fired power plant if it could produce electricity at lower emissions than existing power plants.

The survey sampled 1000 people and found 81 per cent of Coalition voters supported the idea, compared to 57 per cent of Labor voters, while regional residents (69 per cent) were more supportive than Sydney residents (57 per cent).