RENEWABLE energy advo-cates say it is cheaper and safer to invest in solar and wind to power North Queensland than trying to establish a nuclear power industry.

It comes one day after Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady called for a nuclear power station to be considered as a solution to North Queens-land’s crippling base-load power shortages.

Windlab Systems general manager Garth Heron said renewable technologies were more cost-effective than nuclear power.

“I think the nuclear debate in Australia is a moot point,” he said.

“Even before you look at all the environmental impacts or potential human health haz¬ards, nuclear just can’t com¬pete on a cost basis.

“It’s simply uneconomical to invest in nuclear and (any power plant) would require huge government subsidies.”

Windlab Systems has plans to build a 1300MW renewable energy station near Hughen¬den, depending on whether the contract can attract private or public investment.

Mr Heron said renewables such as wind and solar could provide reliable power supplies for North Queensland.

“Renewables can produce (electricity) at about 10 cents per kilowatt hour, which is about half the cost of nuclear,” he said.

However, Townsville-based economist Colin Dwyer said there needed to be a debate about whether nuclear power could be viable in North Queensland.

“France gets 80 per cent of its power from nuclear energy and the spent (fuel) rods get buried in big granite contain¬ers,” he said.

“China and India are also going down the path of nuclear.

“What we can’t do is look at the experience of Japan and use emotive arguments against nuclear technology.

“Australia has geologically stable areas where (nuclear power) could be set up.”

Mr Dwyer said any decision on nuclear power should be made based on a thorough cost-benefit analysis.

The State Government’s 30-year Electricity Strategy discussion paper closes for sub¬missions tomorrow.


Note: Original story was published by on 5’th December 2013