WA Libs back coal closure
A Liberal anti-coal policy is adding a new dimension to WA’s upcoming election.
With the state set to go to the polls on March 13, WA’s Liberal opposition has departed from the party's traditional stance and vowed to close coal-fired power stations within four years.
The WA Liberals want the state to reach net zero emissions by 2030, announcing a New Energy Jobs Plan that includes boosting wind and solar to power a hydrogen export industry.
It has put WA Labor in the odd position of criticising a green power push, saying it would cost too much, lead to job losses in the mining sector, and leave residents facing higher bills and black-outs.
Ian Porter, leader of the volunteer lobby group, Sustainable Energy Now WA, says the Liberals' policy has changed the debate in WA.
“I think the Liberal Party's policy is definitely stronger because they have said all state-based assets will be carbon-free by 2030,” Mr Porter says.
“Labor has an aspirational target, it's not actually a legislated target, they're saying net zero by 2050.
“I think we're going to see that the Labor Party will be forced to move to this new platform of much tougher environmental policy moving forward.”
WA Labor’s climate policy includes $240 million for new standalone power systems, including solar and batteries, in regional areas.
It has a 20-year blueprint for the future of WA's power, but does not have a deadline for closing coal-fired power stations.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), the main lobby for gas and oil producers, says it was not consulted about the WA Liberal policy. It has called for climate change and emissions reduction policies to be set at a federal level.