19 May, 2017
Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph recently revealed that the average annual electricity bill was set to increase by more than $400, the NSW government was quick to point the finger at Victoria and South Australia for allowing their coal-fired power stations to close and pushing up prices.
Given this, Telegraph readers will be shocked to learn that the NSW government is intending to commit the very same crime, allowing coal-fired power stations to be replaced by wind and solar farms. In less than five years from now, a power station in the Hunter Valley called Liddell will close. It accounts for 14 per cent of NSW’s electricity generation. Given the NSW government has committed to investing $73 billion in infrastructure over the next four years, it would be reasonable to assume it would set aside the necessary $1.5 billion to build a replacement coal power station.
Instead, the government is doing nothing other than blindly approving the construction of more wind and solar farms. In the next 20 years, all five remaining coal-fired NSW power stations will close. These are the same power stations that today generate 85 per cent of our electricity.
When Premier Gladys Berejiklian was recently asked by Sky News if she would like to see new coal-fired power stations built, she replied NSW would “rely on its existing coal power plants”.
Perhaps the reason for the Premier’s reluctance to invest in a new clean coal power station is a policy she inherited from Mike Baird.
In what appears to be a plan to keep the Greens on side, her predecessor committed NSW to a target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050. The only way this target can be met is for coalfired power stations to close and be replaced with wind and solar farms.
As South Australians will testify, the problem with renewable energy is it is entirely dependent on Mother Nature. The term renewable says it all. The energy created has to be “renewed” because every day wind and solar energy farms reach a point of energy failure.
If NSW is to avoid a South Australian-style electricity system with South Australian-style blackouts, it is vital that we have reliable power.
Given the several years of planning and several more years of construction required to build a new clean coal-fired power station, the NSW government needs to press the go button now.
Nathan Vass is CEO of the Australian Power Project.