Coal power production is the most reliable and cheapest form of electricity generation compared with alternative energy sources, according to Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray.
On Monday, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report which said the use of coal for electricity generation would have to drop to between zero and 2 per cent of current usage by the year 2050 in order to stop global warming. Mr Murray said various worldwide studies on alternative energy sources including wind, solar and wave energy showed they were more expensive and not totally reliable.
“Given the current situation of the energy market and the price of power there is a long way to go before we will be able to completely switch to these alternative means,” he said.
“Alternative power sources will be up to four times more expensive than the current coal-produced energy and this would impact on every household in WA.”
Mr Murray said coal was an important industry in Collie with 800 direct jobs and around 500 indirect jobs.
“Shifts away from coal will be felt throughout the entire South West in regards to employment,” he said.
Mr Murray said there had been many studies and pilot projects conducted on geosequestration in relation to the coal industry which essentially involved the injection and storage of the greenhouse gases underground, out of contact with the atmosphere.
“This scheme is proposed as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions of coal-fired power generation to near-zero,” he said.
Collie shire president Sarah Stanley said energy production policy was set at a State and Federal level, and though the Shire of Collie was a key stakeholder, it had limited influence on decision-making.
“The Shire of Collie’s most urgent strategic priority is in the diversification of its economy so that new opportunities are provided for the workforce displaced by changes in the coal mining and power generation sector,” Ms Stanley said.
Collie shire chief executive officer David Blurton said Collie had a rich and proud history of coal mining and power generation and these industries had built the foundations of the community.