Sydney, Australia, May 19 (EFE).- The Australian government will allocate AU$600 million ($467 million) for the construction of a new gas plant despite a call by the International Energy Agency not to authorize new oil, gas and coal projects.
The new facility, which will generate 660 megawatts (MW) of power, will be located in the Hunter Valley region, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Sydney, and will begin operating at the end of 2023, according to a statement issued by Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor on Tuesday night.
Taylor told broadcaster 2GB on Wednesday that the new plant will help meet the country’s power generation targets, replacing the Liddell coal-fired power station when it closes in 2023.
According to an environmental impact report submitted to the New South Wales state government, the new plant would be unfeasible as it would only operate at two percent of its capacity throughout the year and only to supply during peaks of demand.
The minister also said that the government of the Liberal-National coalition is “not going to shut down our coal industry or gas industry” despite requests from the International Energy Agency for a shift to a less polluting model of energy production by the middle of the century.
The announcement of the new plant comes after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned last year that the government would intervene if the private sector did not commit to investing in the construction of a 1,000 MW plant to replace the one in Liddell.
At the beginning of the month, Energy Australia announced the construction of a 316 MW gas-powered plant in the town of Illawarra, more than 100 kilometers south of Sydney.
Shortly before the announcement of the construction of the plant, the International Energy Agency said that it was possible to build a global energy sector with net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a commitment that the United States and the European Union have already made, but that has not been adopted by Australia. EFE