New dirty power would destroy NSW greenhouse target Media Release

Jul 11, 2007 - 7:19am

New modelling released by The Climate Institute today shows that any new fossil fuel driven base load power station would make it almost impossible for the State Government to achieve its greenhouse target of stabilisation at 2000 levels by 2025, and that decisive policies are needed to ensure clean energy meets the State’s growing power needs. The findings are outlined in the Institute’s submission to the Owen Inquiry into electricity supply in NSW.

“The NSW Government has taken important steps towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but the Premier must rule out any new traditional fossil fuel fired base load generation in NSW and make the switch to a clean energy economy.” Said Chief Executive of the Climate Institute, John Connor. “In the face of increasing droughts, floods and fires, the days of carelessly building dirty power stations are over.”

The Climate Institute’s submission to the Owen Inquiry into electricity supply in NSW draws on modelling by MMA (McLennan Magasanik Associates) one of Australia’s leading electricity sector analysis groups, and shows that:

  • With no new policies greenhouse gas emissions from the NSW electricity sector will increase by around 30% by 2025. This is equivalent to adding over 4 million cars to NSW roads. This is inconsistent with State Government policy to stabilise emissions at 2000 levels by 2025.
  • Known clean energy power sources are available today and are capable of meeting NSW electricity needs to 2020. Under a scenario where moderate national greenhouse reduction policies are introduced, in 2020, coal generation stays at close to today’s levels, gas accounts for 9% of generation, and renewable energy such as wind and existing Snowy Hydro account for 21%. The impact of these greenhouse policies would be less then $4/week for the average NSW household and would stabilise the State’s electricity sector emissions at around today’s levels.
  • Ignoring the greenhouse implications, modelling also indicates that under current policy settings there is no need for a new base load power station in NSW for at least the next decade. Higher utilisation of the State’s existing capacity, current plant upgrades, further investment in new gas-fired peaking plants, and more renewable energy investment generated by the State’s renewable energy target is projected to supply NSW generation needs to around 2020.

The Climate Institute’s submission calls on the State Government to:

  • Rule out any new fossil fuel base load generation that is not equipped with fully operative carbon capture and storage technology;
  • Rule out indemnity against future carbon risk for new investment, and;
  • In the absence of an expanded national clean energy target like MRET, increase the state renewable energy target to 20-25% of generation by 2020.

“Turning around Australia’s rising greenhouse pollution is not the sole responsibility of State Governments but NSW’s leadership on greenhouse pollution reduction and clean energy is seriously at risk.”

“NSW and Australia can make the switch to clean energy and both Federal and State Governments need to urgently work together to ensure that all new electricity load comes from clean sources such as solar and wind.” Said Mr Connor.

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