Australia’s biggest coal-fired power station will stay open. Why?

The NSW Government has announced it will work to keep Australia’s largest coal-fired power station open longer.
australia's biggest coal-fired power station

The NSW Government has announced it will work to keep Australia’s largest coal-fired power station open longer.

Its owners initially planned to close it in 2025.

The measure is expected to secure the state’s energy supply, amid significant strain across the national energy market.

Eraring: Australia’s biggest coal-fired power station

The Origin Energy-owned Eraring Power Station is responsible for generating 25% of NSW’s energy supply.

At the start of 2022, Origin announced plans to close the station in 2025, seven years earlier than expected, to begin a transition towards renewable energy sources.

However, the announcement came before increased pressure on the market and uncertainty around supply led to intervention from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

The decision

An independent ‘Check Up’ report released yesterday flagged projected energy challenges for NSW in coming years.

It found that closing Eraring in 2025 would cause significant reliability issues in the energy market, and could drive up the price of electricity.

It recommended the Government and Origin extend operations at the power station, as well as develop a strategy to achieve a new deadline.

What’s next?

The State Government and Origin Energy will now negotiate a new closure date for Eraring.

In a press conference yesterday, NSW Energy Minister Penny Sharpe said the decision would “smooth the bumps” of the renewable energy transition, but added that she didn’t want Eraring to stay open a “minute” longer than necessary.

Sharpe did not provide detail on costs related to the extension, or an idea of how long the station may need to continue operations.

Energy concerns

National energy supply is projected to face increased pressures this summer, as many Australians turn to air-conditioning to keep cool.

Last week, AEMO warned of a risk of regular blackouts in some parts of the country, caused by increased electricity usage.

It projected supply issues for the next decade, largely due to the planned transition from coal
energy sources to renewables.

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