'Never more critical': Government pressed on low-carbon recovery study

The Berejiklian government is being urged by a lower house committee to report within months how the promotion of low-carbon technologies can help revive NSW's economy as well as reducing its dependence on coal.

The five-member lower house Committee on Environment and Planning - three of whom are Liberal MPs - last week agreed to ask the government for the study of the employment and investment opportunities that can be generated by the renewable energy sector and a shift to a low-carbon economy.

Vales Point coal-fired power plant: Government-dominated committee wins backing for a report on how to spur the state's post-COVID-19 recovery by shifting to renewable energy and off fossil fuels.
Vales Point coal-fired power plant: Government-dominated committee wins backing for a report on how to spur the state's post-COVID-19 recovery by shifting to renewable energy and off fossil fuels.CREDIT:PETER RAE

Alex Greenwich, the independent MP who is also chair of the committee, said the workforce and economic opportunities from accelerating the take-up of wind and solar energy would be "critical" for the state's rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our committee has heard thousands of new jobs are waiting to be created and there has never been a more important time for this," Mr Greenwich said.

The jobs range from construction related to the building of new transmission and storage for the power sector, investment in hydrogen technology, to stepping up energy efficiency in homes and businesses that would have lasting benefits.

"There is a lot NSW can do to future proof our economy by increasing access and supply of renewable energy both locally and for export," he said.

The committee had planned to hold hearings into its energy inquiry by now in places such as the Hunter Valley, before the coronavirus-linked lockdowns delayed the events.

The recent collapse in export thermal coal prices - now trading at about half their levels of two years ago - has only added to the urgency of weaning the region off fossil fuels, Mr Greenwich said.

 

Read the full article by Peter Hannam published in the Brisbane Times 4th May 2020