The Wandoan Project

On the issue of clean coal, we should all take a look at a new power station that will be built at Wandoan in Central Queensland.

It is called the Wandoan Consortium, and is a joint venture between the Stanwell Corporation (a power generation company owned by the Queensland Government) and GE Energy (a subsidiary of General Electric based in the United States).

They are recognised by the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Initiative and are working in partnership with Xstrata Coal, who are well on the way to opening at Wandoan the largest thermal coal mine in the Southern Hemisphere.

The power station will become part of the Queensland Power Grid, and will use an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle together with carbon capture and storage technologies. This is all a bit beyond my old brain, but I intend to read more about it, as this is an important advancement in the science of clean energy, particularly as Duke Energy is developing a similar power station in the United States.

It seems to me that Wandoan is an ideal site, as it is surrounded by a large number of geological ‘sinks’ that have been storing C02 for thousands of years.

The consortium is currently involved in a two year design phase, which will be followed by a five year construction period, and should not be confused with the clean coal power project at Rockhampton that was recently closed down. It is using totally different technology.

Most people to whom I talk want to scoff at clean coal projects and dismiss them as pie in the sky ventures undertaken by people who are real nutters, but throughout history, all great innovators have been jeered and ridiculed — Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Madame Curie and others all suffered enormous abuse, but eventually made a laughing stock of their critics.

The metropolitan trendies who sip their martinis and laugh at pioneers who risk their capital to give us a better life should get it clear in their somewhat shallow minds that if coal dies as a power source, causing all of our mines to close, then Australia will wind-up being the Banana Republic that Paul Keating once forecast.

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