Queensland won’t close coal plants in energy transition push

The Australian state has set a 2050 net zero target but refused to close its eight coal plants

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The Australian state of Queensland’s new 10-year energy transition plan has come under fire for its refusal to close its coal-fired power stations.

Queensland Energy Minister Mick De Brenni announced that later this year, half the state’s electricity needs would be catered for with renewable sources, emissions would be slashed by 30% by the end of this decade and net zero would be hit by 2050.

However, his stance that none of the eight coal plants would be shut down has led many to criticise and question whether these targets are actually achievable.

De Brenni said: “To make this really clear that as part of our vision for the future, it does not include closing down any of our coal-fired power stations.”

He stressed that “they will continue to play a significant role in our electricity system going forward.”

Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator revealed that Queensland was responsible for one-third of the country’s 315 million tonnes of carbon emissions throughout 2020-21, with half of these coming from its coal plants.

The Energy Minister has stated that this energy plan will be delayed until the third quarter of 2022, which has led to further criticism.

Professor Ian MacKenzie from the University of Queensland stated: “If the government keeps kicking the can down the road, you’re going to end up with a lot of unhappy citizens and a lot of unhappy industry stakeholders because they just don’t know what’s going on.”

On the continuation of coal, he added: “The simplest and most cost-effective way to get to these targets, the most efficient way, is by phasing out coal and investing in new renewable technologies, it’s simple as that.”

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