Australia’s biggest coal-fired power plant is set to close in 2025, seven years ahead of schedule, and the energy minister in New South Wales says the state will have enough reliable, affordable electricity to keep the lights on—thanks in part to a new “super battery” the government plans to build.
Origin Energy, operator of the 2,880-megawatt Eraring facility, gave the required three years’ notice to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) yesterday, Renew Economy reports. CEO Frank Calabria said the “proposed exit from coal-fired generation reflects the continuing, rapid transition of the [National Energy Market] as we move to cleaner sources of energy.”
Today’s energy market in Australia “is very different to the one when Eraring was brought online in the early 1980s,” Calabria added. “The reality is the economics of coal-fired power stations are being put under increasing, unsustainable pressure by cleaner and lower-cost generation, including solar, wind, and batteries.”
He added that Origin is planning to “repurpose infrastructure at the Eraring site, including the installation of a big battery with a capacity of up to 700 MW,” RenewEconomy writes. “To enable Origin to support the market’s continued transition to renewables, we intend to utilize the Eraring site beyond any retirement of the coal-fired power station,” Calabria said.
New South Wales Energy Minister Matt Kean pledged that the new “super battery” would ensure a reliable supply of affordable electricity, but said he was disappointed by Origin’s announcement.
“This is a difficult day for the Lake Macquarie community,” he said. “The planned closure of Eraring is especially tough for its workers, their families, and local communities, many of whom have helped power NSW for decades, and my expectation is that Origin does the right thing by its workers.”
RenewEconomy has more on yesterday’s announcement.