Energy Security Board warns more coal power stations face closure

The Energy Security Board has warned that Australia’s remaining coal fleet could be forced to close earlier than expected.

EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn coal plant in Victoria is to close four years early. Picture: Jason Edwards
EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn coal plant in Victoria is to close four years early. Picture: Jason Edwards
Australia’s remaining coal fleet could be forced to close earlier than expected as low wholesale prices and cheap renewables rout generators’ profits, the Energy Security Board has warned, following EnergyAustralia’s decision to shut Victoria’s Yallourn coal plant four years early.

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.

Read the full article published in The Daily Telegraph 11th March 2021