Lifting the lid on Liddell

Despite locals, employees, and climate experts advising to close AGL’s Liddell Power Plant, the Federal Coalition wants to refurbish the old, dirty and inefficient power station. Built in 1971, the plant is riddled with problems and needs extensive and costly repairs. However, Australia’s leaders are having withdrawal issues and are clinging on tight to this tired, inefficient power station.

Now we’re all fans of antiques, but keeping this dirty coal-fired relic running is an uphill battle that just doesn’t make sense. To delay the inevitable and keep the plant functioning, it will cost a whopping $900 million. These mega dollars would mean the plant could operate at partial capacity for 10 years past its planned decommission date.

This ageing plant is already buckling under pressure and is plagued with problems including eroding pipes, boiler leaks and a run-down coal conveyor system. To put it simply, it’s dirty and unsafe. Liddell is on its last legs and is operating at an efficiency rate of only roughly 35% due to its current faults.

A sticky-tape solution would not only be a massive waste of funds, but it will also push Australia even further behind on providing clean, secure and reliable energy. If the refurbishment goes ahead, it is predicted that Liddell will emit between 50-60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over ten years. Replacing this relic with renewable energy would reduce fine particle pollution in the Hunter Valley by almost 200,000 kg each year, leading to longer and healthier lives for residents of Singleton, Muswellbrook and beyond.

While Australia’s leaders may be stage 5 clinging onto coal, the rest of the nation is getting on with the job. Solar and wind in Australia is booming. Innovative, affordable renewable energy projects are popping up left, right and centre. The Bungala solar project in South Australia will cost $450 million to build, that’s just half of the costs to maintain Liddell. This sun-soaked project will provide 350 jobs and power more than 100,000 homes. Port Augusta will be home to the world’s biggest battery, and the ACT is on track to meet its 100% renewables target by 2020. Australia is catching on, and it’s about time our pollies did too.

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