No Contest: Renewables and Storage Vs Coal

25.07.18 By
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AUSTRALIA’S COAL POWER STATIONS are not fit for a 21st century power system with almost 100 breakdowns at fossil fuel power stations in the seven-month period to the end of June 2018, according to a new Climate Council report ‘End of the Line: Coal in Australia’.

Climate Councillor and energy sector veteran with more than 40 years experience, Professor Andrew Stock said, “by 2030, 55% of coal power stations in Australia will be over 40 years old. These ageing coal stations are  increasingly unreliable and expensive to operate, risking blackouts and higher consumer power costs.”

“Extending the life of old coal power stations is extremely expensive. For example, it would cost almost a billion dollars to extend the life of the Liddell power station for just five years,” said Professor Stock.

“Australia’s ageing coal power stations are becoming increasingly unreliable and prone to breaking down in extreme weather events. Their many recent failures show old coal cannot be depended upon to provide a reliable supply of electricity for the next two decades,” he said.

“Australia must urgently plan for a future without our ageing coal fleet. Fossil fuels can’t compete with renewables and storage when taking into account pollution, cost, reliability and health outcomes,” said Professor Stock.


”Building a new coal power station is not the solution as it is the most expensive form of new power generation and the worst option in terms of pollution,” said Professor Stock.

“Adding carbon capture and storage to new a coal power station is not the answer, costing over six times more than the cost of Australia’s largest wind farm,” he said.

“Whether it’s old coal power or new, the numbers just don’t add up anymore for coal. It’s risky, dirty, costly and unreliable,” said Professor Stock.

Australia’s coal dominated electricity sector is the nation’s single largest source of greenhouse gas pollution, producing 33% of Australia’s total emissions in 2017 (excluding land use).

Climate Councillor and energy expert Greg Bourne said “the term ‘clean coal’ is an oxymoron. No matter how ‘efficient’ a coal-fired power station claims to be, it is always polluting.”

“A new ‘high efficiency’ coal power station using black coal would produce about 75% of the emissions of an existing power station of a similar size,” said Mr Bourne.

“When dug up and burned, coal pollutes the environment and damages our health, costing Australian taxpayers about $2.6 billion in health costs every year,” he said.

“Australia needs a plan to transition away from coal. The Federal Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee simply won’t deliver the investment in new clean, reliable renewable energy Australia needs to address the urgent threat of climate change” said Mr Bourne.

For more information please contact Senior Advisor – Media and Stakeholder Engagement Kurt Hermann on 0421 007 510.

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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