Clive Palmer's plans for a “carbon neutral” coal-fired power station in Queensland have hit a roadblock.

The state's environment department has rejected Waratah Coal's environmental licence application. 

The proposed $3.5 billion, 1,400-megawatt power station on a cattle property near Alpha has faced concerns that it could become a top greenhouse gas emitter in Australia, contributing to climate change impacts.

The rejection stated that the project could increase Queensland's emissions by approximately 5.73 per cent, hindering the state's renewable energy targets and national commitments for net-zero emissions by 2050. 

The department raised doubts about the feasibility of carbon capture storage (CCS) and carbon offsets, despite Waratah Coal's commitment to a “net zero emissions power station”.

While the project could generate employment, the department emphasised that social and economic benefits do not outweigh the severity of climate change threats. 

Waratah Coal has sought an internal review, with a decision expected next month. 

Planning Minister Steven Miles, overseeing the project since December 2021, has until December 14 to decide on the application.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth is urging Minister Miles to reject the proposal, emphasising the need to avoid additional coal-fired power stations and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. 

The State Assessment and Referral Agency outlined conditions for compliance on the same day the environmental authority was denied. 

The federal environment department is also assessing the proposal, focusing on potential impacts on threatened species.

This setback for Clive Palmer follows a similar refusal for the Galilee Coal Mine earlier this year on human rights and climate change grounds.