Report reveals 100 fossil fuel plant breakdowns

Australia’s coal power stations are not fit for a 21st century power system with almost 100 recent breakdowns at fossil fuel power stations, according to a new report.

The Climate Council report, ‘End of the Line: Coal in Australia’, has revealed in the seven-month period to the end of June 2018, Australia’s gas and coal plants broke down almost 100 times.

Climate Councillor and energy sector veteran Professor Andrew Stock said by 2030, 55 per cent of coal power stations in Australia would be more than 40 years old.

“These ageing coal stations are increasingly unreliable and expensive to operate, risking blackouts and higher consumer power costs,” he said.

“Extending the life of old coal power stations is extremely expensive.

“For example, it would cost almost a billion dollars to extend the life of the Liddell power station for just five years.”

Professor Stock said coal power stations are becoming increasingly unreliable and prone to breaking down in extreme weather events.

“Their many recent failures show old coal cannot be depended upon to provide a reliable supply of electricity for the next two decades,” he said.

”Building a new coal power station is not the solution as it is the most expensive form of new power generation and the worst option in terms of pollution.

“Adding carbon capture and storage to new a coal power station is not the answer, costing over six times more than the cost of Australia’s largest wind farm.

“Whether it’s old coal power or new, the numbers just don’t add up anymore for coal. It’s risky, dirty, costly and unreliable.”

Australia’s coal dominated electricity sector is the nation’s single largest source of greenhouse gas pollution, producing 33 per cent of Australia’s total emissions in 2017 (excluding land use).

Climate Councillor and energy expert Greg Bourne said the term ‘clean coal’ is an oxymoron.

“No matter how efficient a coal-fired power station claims to be, it is always polluting,” Mr Bourne said.

“A new ‘high efficiency’ coal power station using black coal would produce about 75 per cent of the emissions of an existing power station of a similar size.”

Mr Bourne said Australia needs a plan to transition away from coal.

“The Federal Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee simply won’t deliver the investment in new clean, reliable renewable energy Australia needs to address the urgent threat of climate change,” he said.