National’s coal-fired power station call falls flat with energy expert

SOLVING the nation’s high energy prices may not be simple as building a new coal-fired power station, as suggested by the National Party, a Tamworth energy expert says.

NEW APPROACH: While coal will continue to play a part in the nation's energy mix, Llewellyn Owens says the likelihood of another being built is slim.

NEW APPROACH: While coal will continue to play a part in the nation's energy mix, Llewellyn Owens says the likelihood of another being built is slim.

Llewellyn Owens, an engineer with more than 15 years experience in the Australian power sector, said the recently released ACCC report shows the need for a fresh approach to energy production.

Rather than building large power stations, then connecting them to the network, Mr Owens said the nation should create lots of smaller energy projects in areas where they naturally fit in to the energy grid.

“Network efficiencies, that’ll drive prices down,” he said.

“That would involve smaller operations utilising the network that’s already there, rather than going through the expensive process of building new transmission lines.”

New England MP Barnaby Joyce said the ACCC report backed up the Nationals call to increase base-load power production – cheapest and easier way to do so being to build more coal-fired power station.

Mr Joyce honed in on a line item in the ACCC report fact sheet, which said one solution to high electricity prices was for the “government to provide back end price support for generation by new/smaller players”.

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“What they’re saying is that you’ve got to get more base load on to the market – which is coal-fired power,” Mr Joyce said.

Mr Owens said “just building another coal-fired power station won’t necessarily” reduce the cost of energy.

“It’s much more complicated than just building new base-load facility,” he said.

Mr Owens was also sceptical of the chances of a new coal-fired power station getting off the ground.

“There’s a reason no one has pursued one for 10 to 15 years,” he said.

“You would really struggle to get approval because of environmental regulations, and it might not solve anything.”

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