In a move to "shore up" brown coal rather than properly support genuine clean energy alternatives, resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson yesterday announced that HRL has yet a further six months to get its long-flailing Latrobe Valley brown coal power plant together and meet funding conditions before it loses a $100m Federal Government grant. Ferguson also announced $100m for CarbonNet, a carbon capture and storage project, also in the Latrobe Valley and part of the $1.68b CCS Flagships Program.
The published version can be read in today's letters (scroll to "Minister shores up coal").In throwing a "lifeline" to HRL's brown coal power project and more money at carbon capture and storage in the Latrobe Valley, Martin Ferguson comes clean in at least one respect - he's aiming at "shoring up the value of Victoria's brown coal resource".Ferguson can imagine no low-emissions solution that leaves coal in the ground. Unfortunately exploiting coal and lowering emissions are essentially contradictory aims.Ferguson claims a "technology neutral" approach to clean energy solutions, but those he favours with so-called neutrality in fact serve private coal interests and escalate dangerous carbon emissions despite empty claims of technological advancement.If Australia is to contribute to a safer global climate, the selection of clean energy solutions cannot be neutral in assessing projected emissions.Ferguson knows there are jobs in genuine clean energy, but prefers coal at the bidding of coal interests who have no monopoly over energy from the sun and the wind.He should also know that the public campaign to stop his climate destruction - a broad-based campaign driven not only by Greens - will only grow stronger.
See also the ABC's investigation of clean coal, Cloud hangs over Rudd's clean coal vision, for which Ferguson refused to be interviewed.