Green bank could fund coal power stations

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The govt is planning an overhaul which could make coal eligible for Clean Energy Finance Corporation funding

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

TAXPAYERS could help pay for coal-fired power stations through Australia’s $10 billion “green energy” bank under changes being considered by the Turnbull government.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has confirmed the government is considering issuing a ministerial directive to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to consider investing in “clean coal”.

“It’s called the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not the renewable energy corporation,” he told the ABC.

The government has been promoting high efficiency, low emissions coal-fired generation to shore up the national energy grid, but there is no appetite in the energy sector to build new coal plants.

Existing Clean Energy Finance Corporation rules say it can only fund new generators that have half the emissions of existing ones.

Even with the latest technology, coal power can’t meet this requirement without using carbon capture and storage.

Mr Frydenberg said the government is considering changing the corporation’s rules to relax that 50 per cent emissions reduction requirement — a move that would require parliamentary support.

Stabilising the country’s power grid is at the centre of his thinking.

“If you can lower emissions and stabilise the system with baseload power, that’s a pretty good outcome for Australian households,” Mr Frydenberg said.

His comments drew a rebuke from South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.

“When ‘clean’ has its meaning expanded to include ‘coal’ you realise how busted national electricity policy truly is,” he said.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Kelly Barnes/The Australian

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Kelly Barnes/The AustralianSource:News Corp Australia

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