The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal.
The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal. Mara Pattison-Sowden

Ron Owen says: 'Don't ignore coal'

Letter to the editor by Ron Owen:

REGARDING Steven Hall, Don't Destroy Our Energy Future of November 11.

I would concur with the heading, as we are in danger of destroying our most efficient producer of electrical power, coal. Not by burning it, but by ignoring it.

We in Gympie sit on an 18-metre bed of coal that stretches nearly to Bundaberg, plus a sea of shale oil and gas.

We pay over 29.5 cents a kWh for electricity, yet we have a decline at Monkland, (would need pumping out) where large trucks and conveyors could carry it to a local power station.

To compete with other countries on an industrial level playing field we should be paying 10c a kWh, not nearly .30 cents.

The technology is available to produce motor fuel, coke, (then steel production) bitumen, plastic, gas and electricity and we have the resource at hand, but with this moronic green philosophy, this resource will stay buried.

Socrates taught us that, "Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people”.

If you can recall Steven Hall's letter, he fell for the temptation to talk only about the people who disagreed with him.

Why did he not talk about facts to debate the letter of mine he was answering? The answer is plain.

WIND POWER: Australia's largest wind farm is set to be built in the Darling Downs north of Dalby by AGL and GE.
WIND POWER: Australia's largest wind farm is set to be built in the Darling Downs north of Dalby by AGL and GE. Contributed

It is so much more gratifying to our iniquitous natures to write about people, rather than produce facts.

It is easier to criticise the person rather than an idea. One of the biggest debates under way in Australia (and around the world) is about electricity and how it should be generated.

One of the major pressure points is its price. During an episode of Q&A, audience member James Newbold said renewable energy is "now cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels”, (the same words as Steven Hall).

Senator Matt Canavan (then resources minister) disagreed, saying: "I don't accept that renewables are, at the moment, cheaper than coal.”

In 2017, the marginal cost of generating power from an existing black coal-fired station is less than $40/MWh.

Brown coal-fired power is even cheaper. To establish the current price of wind power, we can look at the announcement by Origin Energy in May 2017. The company agreed to buy all the power to be generated by the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in Victoria between 2019 and 2030 for less than $60/MWh.

An underground coal mine.
An underground coal mine. Contributed

A similar price was struck in March 2016 when the ACT Government conducted its second "wind auction”.

The government uses wind auctions to buy contracts for future energy supplies. The lowest price in the 2016 auction yielded around $60/MWh in current prices.

This figure is based on a flat rate of $77/MWh for 20 years. Steven Hall again made no mention of how he intends to build these expensive renewable energy machines without coal.

As without coal, he has no plastic and no coke. Without coke, he has no steel and as he wants to leave all these commodities in the ground he will be trying to make his machines out of wood, but without steel even the wood would be hard to cut.

The only future without coal and steel is a return to the Stone Age and the end of science.

He won't have to worry about global warming as he will be too busy trying to find firewood.

Ron Owen,

Gympie

Gympie Times


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