The federal National party wants to build new coal-fired and nuclear power stations in the belief these technologies will reduce Australia's carbon emissions and at the same time boost local manufacturing and jobs.
But energy industry experts like Kerry Schott, Chair of the Energy Security Board, has told the Australian Financial Review coal-fired power stations could close four or five years before the end of their rated life as plentiful renewable energy coming online makes them unprofitable.
The Nationals Senators decided to move amendments to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) so that it can invest in all technologies that can reduce emissions.
Nationals Senate Leader, Senator McKenzie stated "The National Party Senators back our agricultural, manufacturing and mining sectors and will continue to do everything we can to ensure their sustainability and prosperity.
"We compete against the world with one hand behind our back while other nations avail themselves of cutting edge, low emissions technologies. For too long, Australia has blocked energy innovations such as nuclear and carbon capture technologies in addition to allowing High Energy Low Emissions projects."
The amendments from The Nationals remove the restrictions on the CEFC from investing in carbon capture and storage, nuclear technology or nuclear power. The amendments will also allow the CEFC to invest in High Efficiency, Low Emissions coal fired power stations.
"The government has already backed clean coal and nuclear technologies in its low emissions roadmap. And the government has tried before to remove the prohibition on carbon capture and storage. Our amendments would make the CEFC's mandate consistent with government policy." Deputy Leader for the Nationals Senator Canavan said.
"Undue restrictions can only increase the cost of reducing emissions. If climate change is such a threat, we should be looking at all options, including clean coal, carbon capture and nuclear."
Meanwhile Dr Schott, said in the AFR article (February 16) "that under the existing market design, the faster-than-anticipated penetration of renewables was following a "step-change" scenario and putting the economics of coal power generation under pressure."
"On the step-change scenario they will probably go four or five years earlier because they are not making any money and they may go before that," she told the Generation 2.0 virtual summit.
"Solar, wind and batteries are driving down electricity prices and that's making coal power stations unprofitable," Nature Conservation Council Campaigns Director Dr Brad Smith said.
"This is great news for anyone who wants lower power bills, more climate action and better air quality in places like the Upper Hunter.
"The transition from coal to clean energy is accelerating, so governments have to start helping communities like the Hunter, Central Coast and Lithgow plan for a future after coal.
"That means more government support for new and growing industries in the area."
Apart from the cost competitiveness of renewable energy insurers, banks and asset managers are all looking at this investments with an eye on climate change risks.
World No1 asset manager BlackRock has put its considerable weight behind a global zero emission economy.
Larry Fink, the multinational investment giant's CEO, has told companies within BlackRock's $8.67 trillion investment portfolio to show how they will achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and prove that the plans have been signed off by their own board of directors.