Australia faces energy shortages in the last decade as coal plants retire


According to Australia’s Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Australia could face power shortages in the last decade unless a new generation is introduced to offset the withdrawal of aging coal power plants. I have.

In 2028, Victoria will abolish the 53-year-old Yallourn coal-fired power plant and will use 1,480 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which now powers 22% of the state’s population and businesses.

And by 2032, New South Wales’ 50-year-old Eraring power plant, which will supply 2,922 MW and meet 25% of the state’s energy demand, will be shut down.

AEMO 2021-2031 Energy Reliability Report (pdf) Supply concerns have been outlined as being exacerbated by energy demand, which can be “extremely rapidly and significantly increased”.

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Yallourn coal-fired power plant in Latrobe Valley, Victoria, October 9, 2002. (AAP image / Julian Smith)

The report noted that ongoing “electricity” will increase energy demand as more appliances, heating, vehicles, and major manufacturing processes switch to electrical variations.

In addition, hydrogen, a pillar of the government’s technology investment roadmap, is known as a way to reduce emissions in hard-to-decay industries such as the transportation industry and steel.

However, “green” hydrogen requires a manufacturing process for electrolysis, which consumes a lot of electricity, resulting in a surge in energy demand.

Nonetheless, AEMO will be backed by new solar, wind, gas, battery and hydropower projects with a safe energy supply in Australia over the next five years and with additional energy generation needed only after 2026. I was relieved that it was done.

In particular, federal intervention and a $ 600 million 660 MW gas plant to partially compensate for the loss, as the 1,680 MW Liddell coal-fired power plant in New South Wales is projected to withdraw in 2023. A trial run was urged.

“A reliability gap is unpredictable over the next five years, primarily due to new generations above 4.4 gigawatts (GW) and lower storage investment, transmission investment, and peak demand forecasts.” Said Daniel Westerman, CEO of AEMO.

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Tesla power pack battery during the Tesla power pack launch event held at Hornsdale Wind Farm in Adelaide, Australia on September 29, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Mark Brake / Getty Images)

However, dilapidated coal-fired power plants designed to be decommissioned after 40 to 50 years of operation continue to threaten current energy stability.

Over the past few months, an unplanned coal-fired power plant outage has caused 400,000 Queenslanders to go out of power, Australasia’s largest aluminum smelter to go out of power five times in two weeks, and Australia’s east coast. Overall, energy prices have tripled from last year.

These outages include a outage in Yarun, which had to stop production in June after being submerged by a severe flood in an adjacent coal mine.

“Recent floods … Passing through a mine creates cracks in the walls of the mine, increasing the risk of flooding in the event of future heavy rains,” the report said.

In addition to this, AEMO predicts in its report that 8.9 GW of commercial and residential solar panels will be installed across the East Coast by 2025, in addition to Australia’s existing 50 GW energy weapons. increase.

This is because the Australian Energy Security Commission (ESB) last month said that the fast-growing solar and wind supply poses a serious vulnerability to energy security, and intermittent power generation is the quality required for a robust power grid. This is because it issued a warning that it lacked.

The ESB’s proposal to the Minister of Energy seeks to address some of these energy security concerns, including capacity mechanisms that encourage the production of dispatchable energy such as hydropower, batteries, and gas.

Daniel Kumerev