The report done for AAPEA on the benefits of power generation by CSG over coal-fired power stations was always going to cop criticism from Green groups. The Greens are not interested in more efficient conventional power generation, favoring a move to unproven solar and wind generation. The possibility that power stations running on gas could reduce emissions of CO2 by up to 70-80% has been greeted by hostility and spin.
The report stated that, “coal could compete with gas on greenhouse emissions only when the cleanest coal technology was compared with the dirtiest gas-fired plant.” In the opposition to these claims that is precisely the line taken. Despite the fact that any new gas fired power station would be most likely to use the best and most efficient system available, the oldest systems of gas are being compared with the most modern power station in the country:
"The report shows when coal seam gas is burnt in old peaking plants like most of those in use in Australia today, the emissions are up to 44 per cent higher than burning coal in the latest coal plants, such as Queensland's 700MW Kogan Creek supercritical plant,'' Beyond Zero Emissions executive director Matthew Wright said.Most of Australia’s power generation is from older power stations, and Kogan Ck is one of a kind here. Any move to gas will utilize the latest and most efficient technology available, and as such will not be the same as the “old peaking plants like most of those in use in Australia today.”
"What the industry and APPEA are really proposing is to build a huge amount of gas capacity, damaging Australian farm land to delay and displace renewable energy, which is a true climate solution.”
The report was released in the wake of an escalation of the row between Independent MP Tony Windsor, who has called for a review of coal seam gas mining, and Santos, which is exploring in the politician's electorate.
It would be a tragedy if ideology were to be the decider in the move to more efficient power production. Green groups have set their sites on ‘renewable’ power but the field has not advanced to the point where it can be relied on in all conditions and thus requires base load production which in most cases can only come from conventional fossil fuel based generation.
One of these days someone may come up with a efficient renewable form of power generation that is available 24/7 but until that time, fossil fuels need to be used unless the Green zealots learn the benefits of nuclear. It is nonsense to try to denigrate the more efficient use of available conventional technology while it is needed to make up for the failings of their preferred option.