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Monday, 17 August 2009
Page: 8059

Mr HAYES (9:00 PM) —At this stage of the evening in debating the Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Amendment Bill 2009 I would like to congratulate the government on their position on waste coalmine gas. As I explained earlier this evening, I have for some time had an association with Energy Developments Ltd. As a matter of fact, I worked for that organisation. I happen to know not only the extent of their operations and how much processing of coal seam methane activity in and about coalmines the company undertook but importantly the amount of CO2 greenhouse gas abatement that occurred. Sixty-five per cent of the electricity generated by Energy Developments came from landfill gas or coalmine gas. These gases produce methane, which is a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2. But, when we talk about coal seam methane gas, the original project I worked on with Energy Developments was at Appin-Tower mine—which is slightly out of my existing electorate near Appin, about 15 kilometres south of my electorate—which produces 97 megawatts of continuous power that is fed into the grid. Importantly, that mine alone abates over two million tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Another mine at German Creek in Queensland, at which I also had the opportunity to work, is operated by Anglo Coal. At that mine EDL produces 32 megawatts of continuous power but, importantly, abates 800,000 tonnes of CO2 greenhouse gas equivalent each year. They are huge numbers and that is just two mines. A third mine—I cannot say that I worked at this one but I am aware the figures—is at Moranbah in North Queensland, which is abating 500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases per year and produces 45 megawatts of continuous power into the grid. These are very good figures for the abatement of gases which would otherwise have been fugitive gases from coalmine production. These gases are actually being used to generate electricity which is now being put directly into our national grid.

The amendments the government has now introduced ensure that those figures will be addressed in the ongoing application of the RET system. I understand that they will not go into the calculation of the 20 per cent requirement for 2020. These organisations—and this is the important thing—raise their capital in the share market and they need the financial incentive to invest, to innovate and to develop these technologies. These companies—and it is not just Energy Developments but other organisations similar to Energy Developments—will use these provisions to be able to generate incentives to invest in the development of these technologies and are doing well in respect of the CO2 equivalent gases that they abate. If the government had not picked up these amendments and enacted these amendments of their own volition, these companies, these coalmines, would simply have flared these gases to atmosphere, which would have caused untold damage. Consequently, the government needs to be congratulated.

Question put:

That the amendments (Mr Hunt’s) be agreed to.