The closure of the coal-powered Liddell Power Station in New South Wales has paved the way for the state to move away from coal and towards cleaner, more affordable, and reliable renewable energy sources.

The facility proved unreliable, having to be restarted 335 times in 2022, and consistently failed to produce its maximum amount of power.

The closure paves the way for the state’s plan to move away from coal to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy, according to the Climate Council.

Climate Council Senior Researcher, Dr Carl Tidemann, said, “When Liddell first came online, Australian troops were still deployed to the Vietnam war. Seatbelts were still optional for most of the country. Richard Nixon was the US president. Times have certainly changed in the past half century and so has the way we generate and store power. The time is right to start retiring old and failing coal.”

Since Liddell’s closure was announced in 2017, electricity generation from renewables in New South Wales has more than quadrupled and is now more than double the output from Liddell (from 4.2 to 17 terawatt hours in 2022).

“There is an abundant pipeline of renewable energy projects firing up to replace Liddell’s capacity. Australians are feeling the pinch with their power bills, so the sooner we get off unreliable coal-fired power and expensive gas by switching to 100 per cent cheap and reliable renewables, the better,” Mr Tidemann said.

“AGL gave six years’ notice of Liddell’s closure, which has allowed workers and the industry time to prepare for a smooth and managed exit. This is a textbook example of how the transformation of our energy system can work.”

Renewable projects in the pipeline for New South Wales include AGL’s big battery, which will have a capacity of 250MW, and the New England Solar Farm, which will eventually be sized at 720MW.

The Australian Energy Market Operator also expects more renewable energy to come online in the next few years.

There are 18 coal-fired power stations remaining in operation in Australia.

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