Replacing the Liddell coal power station with clean energy and other smart solutions would slash climate pollution and be more than $1.3 billion cheaper than the Turnbull Government’s proposal to keep the ageing plant open past its used by date, new economic analysis has revealed.
The fresh economic modelling was conducted by the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) and commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF). It compared the pollution and costs of three proposals for Liddell: extending its life by 5 years, AGL’s indicative replacement proposal, and a package of clean energy, demand management and energy efficiency.
The results found that the clean energy package would be significantly cheaper than both the Turnbull Government’s proposal of keeping the plant open longer and AGL’s indicative replacement plan.
The modelling also found that the clean energy package could be expanded to include significant new battery storage, solar thermal and bioenergy and still come in almost half a billion dollars cheaper than keeping the polluting Liddell plant open after 2022.
The analysis also pointed out a stark difference between the climate pollution emitted under each of the three options. The clean energy package would have zero pollution compared to 40 million tonnes of climate pollution over 5 years created by extending Liddell and 2.5 million tonnes for AGL’s indicative proposal. Extending the life of Liddell would be bad for our climate and Australia’s ability to achieve our Paris targets.
ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said the results showed Australia’s elected representatives were holding the country back by stalling a comprehensive plan for the swift transition to clean energy.
“Australia desperately needs a comprehensive climate change policy that will facilitate the rapid transition to a clean energy future.” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“Any climate change and energy policy, be it the National Energy Guarantee or another proposal, must be designed to encourage as much clean energy and smart technology as possible, and not prop-up polluting coal plants that are damaging our planet.”
ISF Research Director, Chris Dunstan, said using clean energy solutions to address the closure of Liddell could set a powerful precedent for the longer-term energy transition across the rest of the country.
“As much as 60 per cent of Australia’s coal fired power stations are expected to reach retirement age in the next 15 years,” Mr Dunstan said.
“Now is the time to prepare for this transition. The good news is that by replacing this capacity with smarter, clean energy options we can reduce costs, reduce emissions, create jobs and maintain reliable electricity supply.”
A full copy of Beyond Coal: Alternatives to Extending the Life of Liddell Power Station can be found here: https://www.acf.org.au/beyond_coal_alternatives_to_extending_the_life_of_liddell_power_station