The operator of Australia’s largest coal-fired power station has announced that the plant will close seven years sooner than anticipated because it is increasingly unable to cope with the “influx of renewables.”
The 2.88 gigatonne Eraring power station, located in the Hunter region north of Sydney and managed by Origin Energy, generates electricity at a rate of 2.88 gigatonnes per hour.
After that, the facility will be decommissioned in 2025 and replaced by a large-scale battery.
It adds to a lengthy list of coal facilities that have been forced to close as a result of the proliferation of inexpensive wind and solar energy in the country.
In the words of Origin’s chief executive, Frank Calabria, “Australia’s energy market now is considerably different from the one that existed when Eraring was brought online in the early 1980s.”
In recent years, Australia’s reliance on coal-fired power plants has been reduced significantly.
However, coal continues to provide 60 percent of the country’s electricity, making it one of the countries with the highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions.
Renewables contributed for over a third of Australia’s electricity output last year, and it is predicted that they will account for close to 70% by the end of the century.
Last week, rival energy company AGL said that it would move the shutdown of its two largest coal-fired power reactors by several years to the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Energy Australia said in 2021 that one of the country’s most polluting power plants, Yallourn in Victoria, will be shut down four years earlier than originally planned due to environmental concerns.
The profitability of coal-fired power facilities has declined for all three businesses in recent years, as lower-cost renewable energy has pushed down electricity costs.