*Pic: The defunct Morwell open-cut coal mine, and the decommissioned Hazelwood Power Generation Plant.
For the first time since the industrial revolution the UK has operated its power energy source for an entire day without the use of coal. Furthermore the government aims to switch off all UK coal plants by 2025. It’s an amazing statement in that their renewable energy will be out-gunning fossil fuels in the near future. So if the Brits can do it then why can’t we?
The UK was once a coal-driven economy until the industry essentially collapsed in the 1970’s. Back in the 1920’s it employed nearly 1.2 million, and now only 2000 jobs remain in the last of the open-cast mines. In another decade it seems their coal industry will almost certainly be gone!
The UK is getting half of its electricity from gas power plants, 30 per cent by renewables, and the remainder by nuclear plants. Ultimately solar and wind will predominate and displace traditional fossil fuels as an energy generation source in the foreseeable future.
The U.K. has more offshore wind turbines installed than any other country, as well as extensive arrays of solar panels, which combines the capacity of about seven nuclear reactors.
Hannah Martin, The head of energy at Greenpeace UK stated: “A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in 10 years’ time our energy system will have radically transformed again.”
Many European neighboring countries have similar agendas with energy companies closing and converting coal-burners at a record pace. European Union members have to meet a target to generate 20 per cent of their final energy consumption from renewable sources by the end of the decade.
The Paris climate deal in December 2015 has brought together almost 200 nations in pledging steps to cut fossil-fuel pollution and throughout Europe action against climate change is the primary reason for the shift to cleaner energy.
Meanwhile back in Australia the Liberals are still thinking in the Dark Ages as they desperately continue to promote the proposed Adani Carmichael mine, which will be the world’s largest open cut mine ever. The mine will yield approximately 60 million tonnes of coal per annum, which ultimately will be burnt into the atmosphere somewhere.
It’s a backward step for Australia and the world’s ability to tackle climate change.
The Liberals should be learning from the achievements of the UK / Europe and abandon any new coal mines or thermal power station developments.
Look and Listen Australia!
*Ted Mead is a strong advocate for the future of renewable energy, and a crusader against the ongoing visionless politics that is driving the coal industries imperative of base-load power supply through fossil fuels. Ted believes a commitment towards renewable energy supply and reducing global warming will be a major issue at the next federal election.