Doctors for the Environment Australia has welcomed the NSW Government's electricity infrastructure roadmap for the orderly switch of NSW's energy supply from coal to renewable energy sources. The burning of coal imposes a direct health burden on the people of NSW through air pollution, and an indirect burden through climate change, worsening bushfires, droughts and extreme weather.
Spokesperson for DEA, Dr Ben Ewald says, "The reduction in air pollution following each coal fired power station closure will lead to healthier babies within six months, less children with asthma within a year, and reduced adult mortality over subsequent years.
" The residual problems from poorly stored coal ash will continue for decades, so it is imperative to move ahead with power station closures as soon as electricity supplies can be sustained without them.
The $32 billion plan was launched today by the NSW Government and the state's Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean. It will see transmission infrastructure in renewable energy zones in the central west, New England and near Wagga Wagga, as well as promote new investment in renewable energy.
"The identified renewable energy zones will create thousands of healthy and sustainable jobs, far outweighing the jobs from fossil fuel projects like the Narrabri gas wells or Hunter Valley mines," says Dr Ewald.
"Steady employment makes an important contribution to health.
"The jobs created by wind and solar farms as well as by pumped hydro storage and new transmission lines will not be subject to the boom and bust cycles of fossil fuel exports caused by price swings and foreign trade disputes. "
An increase in the use of renewable energy to replace greenhouse producing fossil fuels is also a key health strategy to curb climate change, which is a public health emergency.
DEA's Media and Communications Coordinator Carmela Ferraro--0410 703 074