Hogsback on NSW's impossible emissions dream

NEW South Wales’ Claytons Energy Minister Don Harwin thought he could make a mark for himself at the recent Council of Australian Governments meeting of energy ministers by pushing for net zero emissions by 2050. Hogsback reckons the other energy ministers told him to go have a cold shower because they wouldn’t have a bar of it.
Hogsback on NSW's impossible emissions dream Hogsback on NSW's impossible emissions dream Hogsback on NSW's impossible emissions dream Hogsback on NSW's impossible emissions dream Hogsback on NSW's impossible emissions dream
Harwin's infatuation with renewable energy has already been well documented in this column. Basically at every opportunity he spruiks renewables but never talks about NSW's world class coal industry.
 
While this might win the NSW Liberal National Party some votes in some inner city seats, it hasn't won it any friends in Canberra and the ramifications for the broader economy would be catastrophic according to research just released by the NSW Minerals Council.
 
Independent expert analysis prepared by the University of Queensland's Energy Initiative of the NSW government's net-zero emissions target described it as "an exercise in heroic futility" given the target will have no measurable impact on the global climate; is an enormous task; comes with no guarantee that major international emitters will follow NSW's net zero example; and will weigh down the NSW economy with significant costs.
 
The analysis found achieving the goal would require: carbon plantings equivalent to the entire area of land in NSW to offset the 25% of emissions that are unavoidable such as those from agriculture, livestock production, industrial processes and manufacturing. 
 
Alternatively, "negative emissions" achieved by burning biomass paired with the world's largest program of carbon capture and storage would be needed.
 
International Energy Agency executive director Faith Birol warned flooding the Australian energy market with too many renewables too quickly risked creating instability. 
 
In NSW, time is running out to properly plan for the replacement of the generation capacity that will be lost when the Liddell Power Station closes in 2022. 
Without a plan, NSW is likely to become reliant on interconnectors feeding intermittent renewable power from Queensland and Victoria. 
 
This is a highly risky scenario for businesses across NSW needing reliable 24-7 energy, and for those working in manufacturing and other industries across NSW, according to the NSW Minerals Council.
 
Hogsback agrees with the NSWMC: supporters of renewables should consider that energy policy focused on meeting unrealistic emissions targets by hoping technology will be available or that renewable energy projects will proceed is economically
irresponsible.