The early closure of Australian coal-fired power stations is inevitable and there is a need for a federal government plan to manage this transition.

That was one of the conclusions of an energy forum hosted by the Australian Conservation Foundation that brought together representatives of energy companies, superannuation funds, financial services companies and investors. 

The aim of the forum, held in Sydney in August, was to discuss the implications for Australia’s energy mix if global warming is to be limited to 2°C.

ACF will today release a discussion paper arising from the forum.

“Participants in the forum agreed that if coal remains Australia’s dominant source of power our nation cannot responsibly play its role in meeting the international commitment to keep global warming below 2°C,” said ACF’s Economist Matthew Rose.

“The forum concluded that shutting down coal-fired power stations was essential if Australia is to play its part, but without a federal government plan to manage the transition the changes will be highly disruptive,” he said.

Hurdles to a smooth transition for Australia’s electricity sector include:

  • a lack of policy frameworks and certainty
  • the cost of permanently closing coal fired power stations
  • rehabilitation costs for the associated coal mines
  • the impact on communities, especially in the Latrobe and Hunter valleys.

“A clear message coming out of this forum was that the federal government needs to become much more involved in the discussion around energy transition,” Mr Rose said.

“Without leadership from the federal government, the inevitable transition will be highly disruptive, employment will suffer and Australia will not reap the benefits of new industries that are rapidly developing across the world.”

Read: Leadership required: the case for an Australian coal transition plan (discussion paper)

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.