BARNABY Joyce is intentionally misleading the public by telling them a new coal-fired power station will reduce power bills or he's incompetent on energy policy - either way, he's wrong Adam Blakester says.
The independent candidate for New England, who has two decades in the energy sector at the "policy and strategy level", said Mr Joyce was ignoring the advice of industry experts in his call for the government to finance a coal power station.
"The CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Organisation released a joint study that concluded that solar and wind, plus back-up storage, are the lowest cost source of new power," Mr Blakester said.
"Their findings are supported by dozens more industry expert bodies.
"That's why I'm asking the question: are [Mr Joyce and the Nationals] are intentionally misleading us and the voters, or are they incompetent?"
However, Mr Joyce said for every industry expert citing renewables as the better option, he could find one saying coal was still cheaper.
"It's who you decided to listen to," Mr Joyce said.
"On any model, for any purpose, you can come up with any outcome you like."
Mr Joyce pointed to other nations that were importing Australian coal to fuel new power stations.
"I have to take some direction from the fact that Germany, China and Japan have invested billions in to new coal-fire power stations," he said.
"Currently in the world there are 640 coal-fired power stations being built.
"They've obviously made the decision that it is affordable and effective. They're all using Australian coal, and they've got cheaper electricity than us.
"Whether you like it or not, the greatest export of this nation is coal."
Mr Blakester said while he agreed with Mr Joyce that the public needed lower power prices, his proposed solution of more coal was "simply wrong" and he had to "stop misleading the Australian public that coal means cheaper electricity".
"In the last two terms of government - both have been Coalition governments at a federal and state level - we've seen electricity prices double," Mr Blakester said.
"I think that's really instructive for voters to ask the question who has competence dealing with this issue."
Mr Blakester said Australia needed a "properly planned and well considered" transition to renewable energy.
"The conundrum we need to solve together is how to keep the lights on, while bringing down power prices and addressing the cluster of other crises at the same time," he said.
"My team and I are asking our electorate what their preferred solution is."