16 July 2007 – A clean coal base-load power station could be built in north Queensland by 2012, the state government has said.
In June, the government revealed plans to build a new power station using clean coal technology as part of its $400m Climate Smart 2050 strategy.
Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson today told a parliamentary estimates committee the station could be built in the state’s north within five years.
“The northern economic triangle, which is a key area for long-term development for Queensland, is in the mix for the location of a clean coal fired base-load power station,” he said. The “northern economic triangle” takes in Mount Isa, Townsville and Bowen.
“We clearly have a view that coal has a significant and will continue to have a significant long-term role in the provision of base-load power in Queensland,” Mr Wilson said. “But it’s going to be clean coal.”
The technology involves taking out greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, storing it in rock, and using the remaining safe gases such as hydrogen as a green energy source.
But conservation group WWF said the technology needed to achieve low emissions would not be operational at the station until at least 2020.
“It is irresponsible and unnecessary for Queensland to even consider commissioning power stations without carbon storage technology, especially when it is clear that future growth in energy demand can be met via gas and renewable energy sources and greater energy-efficiency measures,” WWF climate change policy manager Kellie Caught said.