Australia’s largest coal-fired power plant to close 7 yrs earlier

Sydney: Australia’s largest coal-fired power station is proposed to close seven years earlier than planned, as its operator said it is increasingly unable to compete with the “influx of renewables”.

The Eraring Power Station, located on the central coast of the state of New South Wales (NSW) and operated by Origin Energy, will close in 2025 and be replaced by a large-scale battery, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Australia’s energy market today is very different to the one when Eraring was brought online in the early 1980s,” Origin CEO Frank Calabria said in a statement on Friday.

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Calabria said the pressure generated by cleaner and lower-cost energy generation, including solar, wind and batteries in the coal-reliant country, is accelerating the exit from coal-fired generation, forcing them to update the services.

To support the transition to renewables, NSW Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean said the state will install the massive new “Waratah super battery”, a 700MW/1400MWh grid battery together with other minor transmission upgrades, will allow Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong consumers to access more energy from existing electricity generation.

The new grid battery is also expected to be the largest network standby battery in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Our giant grid battery will act as a shock absorber, so that transmission capacity currently kept in reserve to handle shocks, such as lightning strikes, can be freed up to transfer energy to consumers,” Kean said.

NSW government will also accelerate its Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap to keep energy prices affordable.

Under the roadmap, the government will invest A$84 million ($60 million) in the key bodies needed to accelerate its implementation and establish a transmission acceleration facility.

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