Angus Taylor’s Hunter gas plan is an expensive, polluting waste of public funds

The Federal Government’s plans to build a polluting, expensive gas plant are a waste of public funds, when all evidence shows that renewable energy backed by storage will provide cheaper, cleaner power, says Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor announced today that he planned to press ahead with plans to build a huge gas power station at Kurri Kurri, in the Hunter region of New South Wales, which Greenpeace Head of Research and Investigations Nikola Casule described as “the triumph of ideology over commonsense.”

“Replacing the Liddell coal-burning power station with a highly polluting gas power station, using taxpayers’ money, is a dangerous, ideology-driven decision from a government that is determined to have gas, despite all the evidence that shows that renewable energy backed by storage is a cheaper, safer alternative,” he said.

“A report from energy analytics firm RepuTex, commissioned by Greenpeace Australia Pacific, demonstrated that replacing Liddell with renewables backed up by batteries is 17% cheaper than replacing Liddell with gas and will result in fewer emissions. The modelling conclusively shows that renewable energy is the best option for replacing Australia’s coal-burning power stations.”

“Building new gas infrastructure is an expensive, unnecessary diversion that will drive up Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, at the point when the latest science shows we must be driving deep emissions cuts and rapidly transitioning to a fully renewable-powered grid.”

With Liddell due to shut down completely by April 2023, the report modelled three scenarios for the National Electricity Market (NEM) to replace the 2000MW power station; [1]

  1. Central Case: Current policies at time of publication i.e 2.6 GW of new renewables are added to the NEM by July 2023
  2. Market Solution: In addition to the Central Case, the market builds an additional 1000MW of renewables 
  3. Gas Solution: In addition to the Central Case, 1000MW of new peaking gas is added to the NEM by July 2023

Reputex’s analysis found that the renewable-powered market solution, which would see 1000MW of new renewable capacity built to replace Liddell, offers the best value for money and makes the greatest impact on lowering Australia’s emissions. 

Under all three scenarios, reliability exceeds the state’s Energy Security Target after the closure of Liddell.

Read the full report here

[1] Liddell’s four units have a combined boilerplate capacity of 2000MW but they rarely if ever achieve this output due to units being offline due to breakdowns and routine maintenance and Liddell’s owners declining to power it up fully because it is increasingly uncompetitive with renewables. 

The Australia Institute


Fiona Ivits, senior media advisor

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