The operations of Premier Coal are geared to the essential elements of sustainability; “meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations”.
Besides economic and social requirements, sustainable energy depends on reliability, efficiency, resilience, adaptability and responsible environmental management. Premier’s coal production, based on reserves for more than 100 years, provides reliable economic energy, combined with an innovative and effective environmental management regime.
Sustainable Development is about providing for the present without compromising the needs and life of future generations. Premier Coal believes it's coal not only satisfies sustainable development but adds value for future generations.
The key to a sustainable future, with the standard of living we have all grown accustomed to, is the supply of sustainable power. Sustainable power supplies must satisfy several important criteria including:
- Reliability (continuity of supply - day in, day out, 24 hours per day)
- Efficiency (minimum of waste)
- Resilience (ability to recover from disturbance and resume normal delivery)
- Adaptability (taking advantages of improvements and new possibilities).
Not all energy sources provide this.
Premier Coal provides all four of these sustainability requirements whereas WA gas has a vulnerable, long-distance supply system with no stockpile capacity close to the users, and renewables are subject to the elements. For instance, wind farms in WA provide power less than 30% of the time. Reliability and Resilience are gained by having viable, alternative energy supply industries.
Without Reliability and Resilience, there will not be sustainable energy supplies in Western Australia.
The Californian experience of massive energy shortfalls and blackouts because of a reliance on natural gas, provides a stark example of what can go wrong, and what we in Western Australia can avoid by a balanced energy supply including coal. Already, WA has suffered electricity restrictions due to an over-reliance on natural gas. The “Veranus” gas outage was an example of the vulnerability of considerable gas reliance in the state.
There is a common perception that society can change to renewables overnight and this is politically, socially and economically damaging. Sustainable energy is not just about the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, particularly over the next 20-50 years. Renewables are undeniably priority energy resources for consideration, support and development but will need to be balanced with fossil fuels for sustainable energy delivery.
Proper resource management is fundamental to sustainable development. Western Australia needs to plan the most effective use of energy sources, particularly fossil fuels, such that these are not wasted but are protected and optimised to produce the best social, economic and environmental outcomes. Fossil fuels have differing uses, differing initial values and differing value-adding capacities. Western Australian natural gas, for instance, is a premium fossil fuel capable of numerous high-value export products and easy application to reduce emissions in transport vehicles. Thus it is a waste to use this natural resource unnecessarily in basic power generation.
The sustainable development of south-west regional areas is highly dependent upon proper resource management and the most effective use of coal in the State’s energy mix. (This approach is already recognised by Government in the promotion of secondary industries attached to the Burrup Peninsular LNG plant.)
Development of an industrial cluster in Collie, near the power source, will add to the Sustainability equation through greater energy efficiency and less energy losses.