The state of Queensland refuses Clive Palmer’s proposal to construct a coal-fired power station that claims to be “carbon neutral.”
The government of Queensland has halted Clive Palmer’s proposal to construct a significant coal-fueled power plant on a remote cattle ranch, citing concerns about its effect on the environment. They have dismissed his company’s assertion that it would have no net carbon emissions.
According to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, the proposed 1.4GW power station plan raises concerns about its economic and employment effects, which are overshadowed by climate concerns and deemed contradictory to the “right to life”.
Waratah Coal, owned by Palmer, contended that it could achieve “carbon neutrality” through the utilization of carbon credits, offsets, carbon capture and storage technology, and biomass in their proposal.
The department raised concerns about the feasibility of those claims.
It is not possible to determine the feasibility and timeline for approving CCS as a means of reducing greenhouse gases for this project. The viability of using biomass to supplement coal is also uncertain. Additionally, the feasibility of utilizing carbon offsets is not guaranteed.
The department has stated that Waratah Coal has not requested permission to use CCS or biomass burning as a way to mitigate the project’s impact.
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The original idea was to construct a power station with a capacity of 1.4 gigawatts on a ranch where cattle are raised, located near the mining community of Alpha in the Galilee Basin.
At first, Waratah Coal submitted a request for approval of their $3.5 billion plant to the Barcaldine regional council instead of the Queensland government. In 2021, the state utilized their “call in” authority to evaluate the project.
Since 2013, the company has been authorized to construct a coalmine with a capacity of 40 million tonnes, located 30km north of Alpha (a town with a population of 335) and 450km west of Rockhampton. However, no progress has been made towards starting mining operations.
The Department of Environment and Science has stated that if the coal power station is given the green light, it will be one of the top 100 producers of carbon pollution in Australia and the second largest contributor to scope one emissions in Queensland. According to data from 2019, the station would result in a 5.73% increase in the state’s overall emissions.
According to the decision notice, the project will produce harmful greenhouse gases by burning coal. This is a known contributor to climate change, and the scientific community agrees that there is enough evidence to support this.
Because there is no guarantee of a plan to achieve carbon neutrality, the department believes that the power station will ultimately add to the long-term and overall impacts of global climate change.
This project will add to the irreversible effects of climate change, which are expected to harm biodiversity and ecological balance. The project cannot promise to preserve or improve the health, diversity, and productivity of the environment for the sake of future generations.
Officials stated that the risks associated with the project could not be controlled through an environmental permit and regulations.
The advantages offered by a workforce of 1,000 in construction and 90 permanent positions are not enough to outweigh the severe and irreversible dangers of climate change, and therefore do not justify approval.
The ABC released a statement stating that Waratah Coal has requested the department to conduct an internal review, with an estimated completion date of December.
Guardian Australia has reached out to Waratah Coal for a response.