Guest essay by Eric Worrall
What do you do if you need the votes of coal miners, but also need the votes of inner city climate activists? Try to please both, of course.
Qld government backs coal and gas industries while unveiling green hydrogen projects
Queensland will keep supporting fossil fuels despite green energy advocate Andrew Forrest acknowledging coal and gas are in decline.
October 11, 2021 – 12:39PM
Queensland has made its second major clean energy announcement in two days but remains tight-lipped on whether the state’s green credentials are being undermined by its support for fossil fuel extraction, including the coal and gas industries.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Monday again stood with iron ore magnate turned green energy philanthropist Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest to announce a partnership between his Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and ASX-listed fertiliser firm Incitec Pivot.
The two companies will team up to assess whether it is possible to convert Incitec’s ammonia production facility on Gibson Island near Brisbane into a hydrogen-powered operation.
FFI also plans to construct an on-site electrolysis plant to produce 50,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year for conversion into green ammonia.
But despite talking up Queensland’s “industrial green revolution”, the state government remains staunch in its support of coal and gas.
Ms Palaszczuk’s government famously struck a deal with Indian miner Adani for royalties from its controversial $2bn Carmichael mine just days before last year’s October election win.
And she again reiterated her support for fossil fuels on Monday, even after Dr Forrest declared the sector was “in decline”.
“In Queensland, we support the people who work in the coal industry,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Backing fossil fuels and renewables at the same time might seem schizophrenic, but it is actually less deranged than most of the plans on offer. Despite the wasted money on uneconomic green energy schemes, at least the coal power will keep flowing – which is more than you can say about most places run by green zealots.