There are calls for an inquiry into how Shine Energy secured a $4 million grant for a coal plant study.

Shine Energy surprised many when it obtained $4 million for a feasibility study into a coal-fired power station at Collinsville in north Queensland.

The company’s successful application was lodged just two days after the grant was announced.

There are claims that “specific guidelines” were drawn up for a one-off grant to the company.

Labor’s climate spokesman, Mark Butler, has written to the auditor general requesting an inquiry into the grant program.

“The government’s support for Shine Energy’s new coal project has always been a hoax to buy votes and has nothing to do with securing jobs or affordable and reliable power in north Queensland,” Mr Butler said.

“As the Australian Energy Council has previously said, new coal-fired power plants in Australia don’t stack up and are ‘uninvestable’ because they are far more expensive than alternatives, including renewables backed by storage.

“As Shine Energy have previously stated with respect to their project, building a new coal plant is going to need significant taxpayer support, which the Australian Industry Group has estimated would cost up to $17 billion for a single plant.”

He called on energy minister Angus Taylor to reject “coal-fired boondoggles”.