Queensland’s Galilee Basin contains a lot of coal which could create a lot of electricity, but let’s not get precious about why we’re going to export it to India. No Australian government, state or federal, is interested in providing the benefits of electricity to India’s poor. They are only interested in export dollars. As for India’s poor, they cannot afford coal fired electricity.
“The poor will benefit from coal-fired power generation only if you ignore the costs of pollution and if industries can be attracted to rural areas. Without industry, though, electrification for the world’s rural poor requires a different model to that offered by coal-fired power.”
That quote comes from an article written by three Australian academics:
- Lynette Molyneaux is a researcher, Energy Economics and Management Group, Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland,
- John Foster is a professor of economics at The University of Queensland,
- Liam Wagner is a lecturer in economics, Griffith University.
They crunched the numbers and came to the conclusion that India’s poor would be far better off with localised, small-scale solar power generation. You can read the Quartz article here:
Or you can read the original article on the Conversation here:
Now, my fellow Aussies, ask yourselves whether making an almighty mess of the Galilee basin is really worth those export dollars when only large corporations will really benefit?
Then ask yourselves what might have happened had we supported our solar industry [we let it die here or go offshore] instead of coal?
I believe a thriving Australian solar industry could be bringing in squillions of export dollars from the Third World as well as doing a great deal of good for the Third World’s poor. Instead, countries such as China* are exporting solar panels to the world and we are still trying to flog coal.
Clearly the coal industry has a great deal more lobbying power than the fledgling solar industry did. Or perhaps our politicians are just too damned stupid to read the writing on the wall. Or perhaps it’s a bit of both. Either way, we Aussies are the ones who will miss out in the not-so-long-run.
*This is an interesting article looking at the provenance of so-called ‘Australian solar’.