Australian Greens promises to pay coal workers billions of dollars in energy transition

If elected, the Australian Greens have promised to help workers with billions of dollars in wage subsidies and new employment opportunities as the country’s coal-fired power plants dim.

This comes after the shocking announcement that Australia’s largest coal-fired power plant, the Eraring coal-fired power plant in New South Wales, will be closed seven years earlier than originally planned for 2025.

“It’s not the coal workers that coal and gas cause climate change,” Greens leader Adam Band told ABC.

“We have an obligation to thank coal workers for powering our country. We choose to take urgent climate change measures or support the coal community. You don’t have to. You can do both. ” Said..

Epoch Times Photo
Adam Band, the leader of New Greens, will speak to the media in Canberra, Australia on February 4, 2020. TraceyNearmy / Getty Images

The proposed $ 19 billion (US $ 14 billion) community support package allows workers to move to industries that require similar skill sets, retrain for new industries, or simply retire early. It helps to do.

This is done by giving companies a large incentive to hire former coal workers by paying 50% of their salary through government subsidies for 10 years.

Workers over the age of 55 are eligible for up to 12 years of payment when moving to retirement, and workers who cannot find an alternative job can receive direct subsidies.

Greens hopes that workers will be able to quickly switch to emerging industries such as renewable energy, mineral mining and “green” manufacturing. This industry can see the production of steel and aluminum using hydrogen, but it has not yet been commercially proven. ..

“In many parts of the country, the best job for coal workers is another mining job, and Greens’ plans can help make that happen. Great for the development of important minerals and the processing of green metals. We have a chance, “Bandt said.

“Australia doesn’t have to close its mining industry. It has to get out of coal.”

Western Australia alone has 20% of the world’s known lithium and nickel deposits. It is the two major minerals used in the production of power batteries and seeks to boost the renewable energy industry, which is accelerating the domestic mining and manufacturing industries.

“We can’t have a catastrophic repetition of the collapse of our car manufacturing industry. Greens’ plans allow communities to control their future instead of leaving fate to the overseas boardrooms of large corporations. “I will,” Band said.

The Greens have sought to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030. This is one of the most ambitious goals of domestic political parties.

“Pain when there is no benefit from climate change”

Australia’s shift from coal has been criticized by those who believe it has less impact on global emissions than global emitters.

Australia’s total contribution to global carbon dioxide emissions is estimated to be 1-1.5%, emphasized by Daniel Wilde, research director at the Institute of Public Affairs.

“The closure of the Eraring power plant seven years ago makes no noticeable difference in global temperatures, but more than 1,000 workers in Hunter Valley lose their jobs and raise their electricity bills,” Wild said. Stated (pdf).

Meanwhile, China, the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter, was building 92 new coal-fired power plants while Australia closed itself, Wild said.

Rogue wave of smoke
On November 26, 2015, a Chinese man sucks a big wave from a chimney as he pulls a tricycle in the neighborhood next to a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi province. (Kevin Frayer / Getty Images)

2021 Report by Global Energy Monitor (pdf) China discovered that it built an average of one large coal-fired power plant per week in 2020. That’s more than three times the total coal-fired power plants built around the world.

The report also found that as of February 2021, 247 GW (GW) of coal-fired power plants were under development in China, nearly five times the power capacity of Australia’s 50 GW.

“Currently, the closure of coal-fired power plants is a national security issue. Australia cannot defend itself if it cannot produce critical supplies during growing hostility in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

This requires replacing the loss of “dispatchable” power, or power available on demand, with more dispatchable power generation, as the Federal Minister of Energy and Emissions Angus Taylor argues. Because there is.

“When all generators leave the market, they have to be replaced, and they need to be replaced with dispatchable capacity, not just variable capacity,” Taylor said. Said..

Daniel Kumerev


Daniel Khmelev is a Perth-based Australian reporter working on energy, technology and politics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, physics and computer science. Contact him at [email protected]