Australia’s largest coal-fired power station will be shut down seven years earlier than planned, as fossil fuel operators face increasing competition from cheaper wind and solar energy.
Origin Energy, the station’s operator, said the 2.88 gigawatt Eraring power plant in the Hunter Valley region north of Sydney, was increasingly unable to compete with renewable energy.
“This reflects the rapidly changing conditions in the national electricity market (NEM), which are increasingly not well suited to traditional baseload power stations and challenging their viability,” chief executive Frank Calabria said.
“Origin’s proposed exit from coal-fired generation reflects the continuing, rapid transition of the NEM as we move to cleaner sources of energy,” Calabria added.
Eraring was brought online in the early 1980s, and the economics of coal-fired power stations are being put under increasing pressure from cleaner and lower cost generation, including solar, wind and batteries.
Last week, AGL, another Australian utility, announced it was accelerating the closure of two of its coal plants, one in Victoria and one in New South Wales.
Energy Australia, another operator, last year announced it would retire a coal plant in Victoria five years earlier than planned.
- George Russell