Morrison Government Gas Power Support “Worst Christmas Present Ever”

Angus Taylor - gas fired power stations

Image: Angus Taylor via Facebook

The Climate Council has lashed out at the Federal Government after it announced intentions to underwrite two new gas-fired power stations.

On Monday, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor announced the agreement of key initial support terms for the two power plants – APA Group’s proposed 220MW generator in Dandenong, Victoria and Quinbrook’s proposed 132MW facility in Gatton, Queensland.

The projects were among those shortlisted for the Underwriting New Generation Investments program (UNGI). 66 submissions were received for UNGI, with 12 making the final cut – six pumped hydro storage, five gas and one coal power station upgrade.

Minister Taylor says the two fossil fuel projects are well advanced, have demonstrated financial viability, would secure the grid and put downward pressure on electricity prices.

The Climate Council sees things very differently.

“The Federal Government has a shameful track record of attempting to fly under the radar and avoid scrutiny by making climate-related announcements before major holidays,” said Dr Martin Rice, Climate Council’s Head of Research.

Dr. Rice said the Morrison Government is putting lives, the economy and environment at risk through supporting projects increasing carbon pollution and making events such as bushfires worse.

“All Australians want for Christmas is a government that responds to growing public concern about climate change with credible policies that deliver deep, rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and moves the economy beyond fossil fuels to clean, safe renewable energy,” stated Dr. Rice.

Climate Councillor Professor Will Steffen says while federal politicians have acknowledged the influence of climate change on the bushfire crisis, this is meaningless if they continue to support fossil fuel projects instead of delivering the urgent and significant emissions reductions required.

Final agreement on the gas power plants is expected next year, with construction to commence shortly after; assuming the projects secure private sector finance.

New Coal Power Still On The Cards

Also continuing to raise concerns are the Government’s intentions regarding new coal power stations. On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated coal burners were still on the table.

“Firstly, there is a proposal for coal still up in north Queensland which we are accepting a report on very, very soon, there are some others in New South Wales and we will see where that goes,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he was “quite agnostic” on the topic of energy, as long as it’s reliable and cheaper – and that he will continue to fulfil his promise to the Australian people to take action on climate change.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Chris Thaler says

    The P.M. is quite ‘agnostic’ on energy overall. A statement to this effect shows categorically a head in the sand approach to support of all /any clean energy provision and should be condemned in all instances.

  2. Ronald Brakels says

    The Dandenong gas power station will be reciprocaters. These are basically giant truck engines. Because of the (relatively) high cost of gas they will be used when demand is high and/or for grid ancillary services — that is helping to stabilize the grid.

    The Gatton power station is or at least was planned to be gas turbines. These would also only be used when demand is high. They can be used for ancillary services but aren’t as good as reciprocaters as they take longer to start.

    These are the best we’re likely to get with zero current carbon price, a full large-scale Renewable Energy Target, and a Coalition government.

  3. In NZ gas turbines are used to stabilise the grid.
    Sometimes the dams are empty and the wind is not blowing.
    Gas turbines are much faster to turn on and off than Coal fired power stations . and tend to be cleaner .
    So I think that until battery storage becomes super cheap these types of relatively nimble power generators will help prevent grey outs and black outs with better emissions than coal fired power stations.
    But I am not an engineerso I could be wrong. However I suspect I am right and I believe in realistic solutions.

    • Batteries are already cheaper. The Hornsdale Power Reserve claims it will repay upfront costs in 3 years.

  4. The current government has a track record. Coal coal coal. So don’t expect anything else other than repeated attempts to build new coal fired power stations.
    Of course releasing this just before the holidays is the normal behaviour as well. Reprehensible. Having said that the bushfires have put climate change right up this government and its prime minister who might I say is looking a bit glum and has nowhere to hide. His New Year statement was of course shameful in its deceit but what else does this bloke give us.
    The only agreement I might have is building a couple of gas fired power generators to boost supply on days when solar activity is low. We can’t avoid that but as batteries become cheaper and have (much) larger capacity then solar will stand tall. Until then we need to be careful……..but building coal fired generators for the donors is not on. Find new donors. The fires ravaging the country should be obvious even to bought half wits who cannot act in the interests of the nation and who are prepared to torch the country in their game of pretend government, which is really government for the wealthy (=tax cuts) and donors. The rest of us are fodder.

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