AUSTRALIA urgently needs a credible plan to replace its ageing, inefficient and polluting coal-fleet, with the owners of several major stations announcing that they will close within fifteen years, according to the Climate Council.
Climate Councillor and energy sector expert Professor Andrew Stock said the latest Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) report confirms renewable energy and storage along with other solutions such as demand response, are the lowest cost solution to replace these ageing coal stations.
“Australian coal power stations are reaching the end of their lives and serious plans are needed to replace them, before they fail. Expensive repairs or upgrades for these old clunkers just delays the inevitable and risks catastrophic failures,” he said.
“These old clunkers are slow to turn on and frequently break down, especially during extreme weather events such as heatwaves. In fact, over the 2017-18 summer Australia’s coal and gas fleet failed and tripped more than 40 times alone.”
“Renewable energy from wind and solar farms are already available, are the cheapest form of new power generation and coupled with storage, are best suited to replace old polluting coal.”
Professor Stock said clean, affordable and available renewable energy and storage technology was faster, more flexible and more reliable than fossil fuels to generate Australia’s electricity on demand, 24/7.
“Coal generators can take days to turn on, to get up to speed and are slow to respond,” he said.
Professor Stock added the Federal Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) will do little to bring on additional renewable energy capacity to replace ageing coal generators.
“Coal may have served Australia well last century. But this century, we need power without greenhouse gas pollution to tackle climate change. Australia must transition away from ageing, inefficient and unreliable fossil fuels and continue towards affordable renewable energy and storage.”
“We have to switch the coal life-support off, especially if we want a fighting chance to cut Australia’s rising greenhouse gas pollution levels and effectively tackle climate change.”
The AEMO report also highlights the need to manage the risk of climate change driven extreme weather events such as bushfires, droughts, and heatwaves.
The Climate Council has created a climate and energy policy roadmap ‘Clean & Reliable Power: Roadmap to a Renewable Future’, outlining 12 key principles that are essential to tackling climate change in Australia. A broad consensus of industry, community and academics have raised concerns over NEG, view our summary here.
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