| July 25, 2023

Delaying Coal Closures will be Costly for Bills and Emissions

Extending coal fire power stations in NSW would be a disaster for the environment and the economy.

A NSW Government Review is considering extending the Eraring Coal Fired Power Station, delaying its closure will come at the expense of affordable energy bills in years to come according to new research.

The latest research from Nexa Advisory finds consumer bills would be $2,250 to $3,000 higher over the next ten years, if the closure of aging Eraring and Vales Point power stations is delayed.

“The solution for firmed capacity for NSW is not keeping these coal clunkers running well past retirement but fast-tracking more renewable storage,” said Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes.

“Just like Origin Energy, the owners of Eraring, who are building a battery on-site, more renewable storage can help stabilise prices for energy consumers.

“The Capacity Investment Scheme should be scaled up rapidly and the NSW Long-Term Energy Service Agreements (LTESA) should be bolstered to lock in the renewable energy storage we need over the coming decade.

“Investing in sensible storage policy now, means NSW can avoid propping up an overly expensive, non-commercial coal power station past its economic life,” said John Grimes.

Delaying the closure of coal-fired power plants stalls investment timelines for new renewable energy storage, at a time when we need an acceleration of investment in new projects.

The report finds a pipeline of 4.3GW already committed or anticipated for those new renewable energy projects.

“Rather than the state government committing hundreds of millions in public money to prop up expensive and unreliable coal-fired power stations, a better approach would be to accelerate the rate at which we deploy new clean energy resources,” said Nexa Advisory CEO Stephanie Bashir.

“This would leave energy users and the nation much better off in coming years.

In line with the latest research, the Smart Energy Council is calling for:

  1. An acceleration of the delivery of the federal Capacity Investment Scheme [CIS]. The CIS was designed to fill the gap of energy storage required over the coming decade as coal retires. This funding for storage projects needs to be mobilised this year and lock in energy storage construction to match coal closures from 2025.
  2. Bolster the pre-existing LTESA contracts to provide an insurance supply of energy storage in the renewable energy Zones.
  3. The Federal Government supports renewable energy storage at the household level. Helping families buy energy storage for their homes is the fastest way to install energy storage across the state, and it can contribute to the worst of peak demand.
  4. The Federal and NSW governments should develop consistent support for scalable long-duration technologies, such as flow batteries, gravity storage and solar thermal.


Download the report.




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