Coal-powered power stations in Queensland have been shut down in a bid to save money and protect jobs from the state’s new rules.

The new mining legislation, which will come into force on Thursday, will ban all new coal-fired generation and requires power stations to build new gas-fired plants, a process that is expected to be around 30 per cent more expensive.

The government’s decision came after it received a letter from Queensland’s power industry, which urged the Government not to scrap coal-power stations, which it said were essential to keeping the lights on and cutting carbon emissions.

The letter from the Queensland Energy Regulator said coal-powered generators in Queensland had saved the state $6.7 billion in electricity costs and the state would now pay the equivalent of $1.8 billion a year to replace its coal-generated electricity.

The state’s coal industry is the second-biggest generator in the country after the national one, and the Government’s decision comes after Queensland’s state and territory governments agreed to shut down power stations for several months.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the decision was needed to save on “significant” emissions.

“We have a huge amount of carbon in our atmosphere and the carbon emissions in Queensland are very significant,” she said.

“It’s going to take us a long time to turn that around.”‘

We have no choice’The coal industry was critical of the new rules, which have been criticised by environmental groups.

“Queensland’s coal power stations are critical to keeping Queensland’s lights on, which is why the Government is taking this extraordinary step to close them down,” said Kate Dankworth, with the Australian Coal Council.

“The Queensland Government has taken the first step to tackle our biggest environmental threat: carbon pollution from coal-based power plants.”

The government said it would save more than $1 billion by scrapping the coal-burning units, which are now around 30 to 40 per cent bigger than they were a decade ago.

“In 2020, Queensland will save $1,000 more a year than we did a decade earlier, and we have no option but to do this,” Ms Palasazczuk told ABC Radio.

“There is no other option to help the environment.”

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