Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam was in Collie today talking with locals about the Greens' plans for Collie as a renewable energy generation hub.
Senator Ludlam, who earlier this year released Energy 2029 - a costed, technical plan for how WA's main electricity grid could switch to 100% renewable energy generation - said Collie should be one of five regional Renewable Energy Zones as it had key attributes that made it the right place to generate renewable energy.
"Because of the billions of dollars in energy transmission and generation assets already invested in Collie, the future of the town as a power generation centre is assured," Senator Ludlam said.
"Our Energy 2029 investigation identified two possible renewable energy scenarios for Collie - one dominated by biomass and the other a mix involving solar PV and wind.
"Collie is an industrial town and our plan would see it with a new labour-intensive industry run by a highly-skilled local workforce.
"The Greens' plan for a transition to 100% renewables supplying the grid that supplies South-West WA's electricity would create, at a conservative estimate, 22,000 to 26,860 jobs, - in other words, more than three times as many jobs as the current number of people employed in coal, oil and gas extraction in WA.
"Many of these jobs would be in Collie - there is $4 billion worth of electrical generation infrastructure in Collie and $5 to $10 billion worth of transmission lines - this is a massive asset that dwarves the value of Collie's known coal reserves, which is only getting more expensive to extract as diesel and labour costs rise, and the mines have to go deeper.
"The Greens are investigating how Collie's existing power generation and distribution assets, and any future power stations such as Bluewaters 3 and 4, could be operate with renewable fuel - such conversions have been done elsewhere.
"If Tony Abbott wins outright control of both Houses of the Federal Parliament next month, then $10 billion of potential investment in renewable energy projects nationally will be written off.
"On the other hand, a vote for the Greens in the Senate can make a difference between Commonwealth support for renewable energy projects or none at all," said Senator Ludlam.
Senator Ludlam also applauded people in Collie and the South-West for planning for Collie's long-term future.
"Concern about the financial viability of Collie's coalmines is neither new nor it is going away; I want to applaud the Shire of Collie on its Strategic Plan which acknowledges the need for flexibility in ensuring Collie's future."
The Greens' Energy 2029 report can be downloaded at: http://www.greenswa.net.au/energy2029
The Greens' WA Clean Energy Roadmap is at: http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/sites/default/files/wa_clean_energy...