Gladys Berejiklian says her government has no plans to approve any new coal-fired power stations in NSW, after a proposal emerged for a Chinese-backed plant in the Hunter Valley.
Hong Kong-based group Kaisun Holdings has entered into a memorandum of understanding with state-owned conglomerate China Energy Engineering Corporation and local company Cavcorp Australia for the development of two ‘ultra super critical’ coal-fired power plant in the Hunter.
The NSW premier on Thursday said the government had not received any application for the project, which has a 2000-megawatt capacity.
‘We have a very long process of assessments for any person who wants to come up with projects,’ Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
Asked whether the government will approve any new coal-fired stations in NSW, the premier said: ‘That’s not on our agenda at the moment.
‘We are the most resilient state when it comes to our own energy needs.’
NSW Labor leader Michael Daley said more detail on the proposal was needed, but he would be ‘very, very surprised’ if any private company wanted to invest further in coal-fired base load power.
‘The way of the future for base load power in NSW is clean, green, renewable energy with battery technology,’ he told reporters.
‘We’ll wait and see what comes.’
The federal government confirmed it was aware of the MOU but was not involved.
‘As there could be potential future approval processes, the government doesn’t propose commenting on this matter further,’ a spokesman for Energy Minister Angus Taylor said on Thursday.
Greenpeace says the project ‘makes no sense’ and has called on Scott Morrison and Ms Berejiklian to rule out any new coal generation.
‘If Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian want to show us that they are no longer besotted by coal, they will rule out building these coal plants right off the bat,’ campaigner Jonathan Moylan said in a statement on Thursday.
‘Australians are ready to embrace the energy transition.’
However, federal Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly said the plan was ‘exactly’ what the Australian energy market needs.
‘If the government needs to underwrite it, if it needs a little bit of help, then that’s what we should be doing,’ he told the ABC.