The energy minister Josh Frydenberg has just joined the News Corp columnist Miranda Devine on her internet radio program ahead of a series of meetings tomorrow where critics of his national energy guarantee will exercise their option to thrash about in protest.
After a slightly bumpy start where Devine thought Tony Abbott could have pulled out of the Paris climate agreement before he took the decision as prime minister to sign up (I donâ€™t know either) the subject of subsidising new coal plants came up. Modelling associated with the policy indicates that no (thatâ€™s zero) new coal plants will be built under the national energy guarantee (or for that matter, under a business as usual scenario) but setting aside that minor predictive inconvenience, Frydenberg says heâ€™d love to see a new one built. L-o-v-e i-t.
Josh Frydenberg: â€śI would welcome a new coal-fired power station for our country because it supplies reliable baseload power and it has served us well in the past and will continue to serve us well in the futureâ€ť.
Frydenberg noted that Australiaâ€™s energy market has a higher share of coal plants than the United States and the United Kingdom. But he said under the governmentâ€™s policy â€śthe reliability that coal provides the system will be valued and itâ€™s much more likely to be staying in the system under the Neg than notâ€ť.
â€śWe have twenty coal-fired power stations in Australia today with an average life of 27 years. While they may not live forever, they will certainly live longer than that 27 years and the Neg will provide that level of stability for the investors and the owners of those assetsâ€ť.
While talking up coal, Frydenberg declined Devineâ€™s invitation that he should pull Australia out of the Paris agreement.