Coal-fired power plants can supply reliable, low-cost electricity but have high greenhouse gas emissions.
Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar have very low emissions, but lack stability of supply due to the variability of the wind and sun, and the additional equipment required to stabilise their output dramatically increases their cost.
Natural gas can provide stable electricity supply, but the natural gas price continues to rise, and while its greenhouse gas emissions are generally lower than coal, they are still significant.
The challenge is to reduce emissions to acceptable levels at the lowest possible cost while maintaining reliable electricity supply. Meeting this challenge is likely to include a mix of all energy sources, with coal combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS) playing a vital role.
A long-term plan is required including adopting emerging technologies to assist the integration of coal with CCS to support reliable, affordable and low-emission energy in the future.