The Energy Security Board has warned that Australia’s remaining coal fleet could be forced to close earlier than expected.
Coal generators including Trevor St Baker’s Vales Point in NSW, Queensland’s largest power station Gladstone and Alinta Energy’s Loy Yang B in Victoria are all viewed as contenders for early closure by analysts.
ESB chair Kerry Schott said marginal coal plants faced a decision on whether to pull the pin early.
“I wasn’t surprised that a coal plant is closing down before its technical life finishes,” Ms Schott told The Australian.
“What will happen is those coal plants which are more flexible in their operations will hang around a bit longer and those that are less flexible will go well before then. That’s what we are observing.”
Concerns are mounting that fresh uncertainty over the lifespan of coal plants will further embolden both federal and state governments to adopt an interventionist approach and either build new capacity themselves or underwrite generation to stimulate private investment.