Coal closures could come faster under both major parties’ climate plans

Nearly 40 per cent of Australia’s coal-fired generation capacity will shut down by 2030, including the equivalent of three medium-sized power plants closing earlier than planned, under the greenhouse gas emission cuts promised by both major parties.

 

Labor and the federal government are proposing a massive expansion of renewable energy to cut pollution from electricity generation, which accounts for about 30 per cent of Australia’s emissions.

EnergyAustralia announced in March it would bring forward by four years closure of the Yallourn power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley to 2028.

EnergyAustralia announced in March it would bring forward by four years closure of the Yallourn power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley to 2028. CREDIT:JOE ARMAO

Federal government modelling, produced by the Energy Department, assumes coal-fired power generation in the electricity grid will drop from its current capacity of 25 gigawatts to 14 gigawatts by 2030 – 5 gigawatts more than the market operator has planned for.

Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) examined what would happen if the coal plants with the earliest closure dates shut early, in line with the federal government’s projections.

IEEFA lead analyst Johanna Bowyer said by 2030 there would be significant closures at three of the country’s biggest power plants. In NSW, the Eraring plant would close completely (rather than exiting over 2030-32) and two of Bayswater’s four units would shut down. In Queensland three of Gladstone’s six units would go.

“With the federal government indicating that 5 gigawatts of coal will exit earlier than expected by AEMO’s schedule, it is key that the government starts planning for these exits and puts in place mechanisms to support communities and workers,” Bowyer said.

Read the full article published in the Brisbane Times 9th December 2021