In an industry that was previously dominated by coal, a new wave of energy is bringing new hope to the once-bitterly hostile environment.
Bobcat Energy has signed an agreement with the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MBA) to sell its coal-fired power stations to the authority, a move that could help fuel a wave of renewables in NSW.
“Bobcat is committed to creating a low-carbon energy future for New South Wales,” said Bobcat Energy chief executive Steve Kippler.
The deal, which is in line with the new NSW Energy Delivery Strategy, would see the company buy coal-based power stations in the Murray-Darling Basin for $200 million, and build a new, coal-fuelled generation station at the Maitland coalmine in Queensland.
It would be the first coal-powered power station to be sold in NSW since the Barnett Shale came online in 2014.
MBA chief executive Craig Thomas said the deal was an example of a new era for NSW.
“Bobcats innovative approach to the Murray Basin was a key factor in enabling the Murray to be viable, but the deal also demonstrates Bobcat’s commitment to the environment, to local communities and to the Mabari Basin,” Mr Thomas said.
“It also reflects Bobcatís strategic focus on sustainability, innovation and a high quality of life for its residents and the community in which they live.”
The deal is the latest of a number of deals Bobcat has made since it was formed in 2007.
Bobcat has also invested $3 billion in new plants in the state’s south.
In 2017, it announced it was selling its coal mines in the Darling Downs for a total of $4.7 billion.
Last month, Bobcat announced a deal with the Queensland government to buy two coal- and gas-fired plants in Queensland’s Gold Coast for $2.4 billion.
Both coal-fueled power stations are part of the Murray’s Power project, which aims to generate 1,400 megawatts of renewable energy by 2027.
Queensland’s new coal-and-gas power plant to be built at Gold Coast will also be the largest single-site coal-to-gas coal-generated project in Australia, according to the Queensland Energy Regulator.
“The coal and gas plants will provide about 1,500 megawatts each over the next 15 years, about half of which will be renewable energy,” Queensland Energy Minister Jackie Trad said.
The Queensland government has also committed $7.7 million towards the project.
This deal could see Bobcat move to the Gold Coast as a major export hub for the coal industry, and provide a major boost to the local economy.
“This is a big deal for Queensland, particularly for the Murray,” Bobcat chief executive Kipplers co-founder Bob Barker said.