Federal energy minister Angus Taylor has confirmed the federal government will spend $600 million on a new gas fired generator in the Hunter Valley, continuing a remarkable fossil fuel spending spree that flies in the face of advice of climate scientists and energy experts.
The funding commitment for the 660MW peaking gas generator comes on the very same day that the International Energy Agency called for investment in new fossil fuel projects to stop immediately if the world has any chance of meeting climate targets.
It also comes amid an unprecedented spending spree by the Coalition government, even by its own standards.
As first revealed by Michael Mazengarb in RenewEconomy on Tuesday, Taylor has quietly filed new regulations that will force the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to commit funds to carbon capture and gas projects. It follows a raft of fossil fuel funding measures in the federal budget, which included virtually nothing for renewables and climate policies.
Earlier this week, Taylor announced a $2.4 billion package to support Australia’s two remaining oil refineries, despite committing little funds and policies to help Australia try and catch up with the switch to electric vehicles. The IEA says sales of new fossil fuel cars must end by 2035 at the latest.
In a statement distributed widely to media on Tuesday night (but typically not, it should be noted, to RenewEconomy), Taylor said the new gas plant at Kurri Kurri was part of the government’s “gas-led recovery” and would come from unallocated funding in the budget.