Half of Australian coal plants must close in next seven years

October 9, 2018: More than half of Australia’s coal fired power generation must be phased out in favour of renewable energy by 2025, with the remainder to close by 2030 if we are to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change, as global report has found.

A global plant-by-plant analysis by Greenpeace International and CoalSwarm found that ending global coal-generated electricity by 2050, with a two-thirds reduction by 2030 — as recommended by the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report — will only be realistic and only achievable if developed countries like Australia go first and take urgent action.

“If the IPCC report isn’t a wake-up call, nothing is. If Scott Morrison, Bill Shorten, and their state colleagues give stuff about our Pacific neighbors, or indeed Australia’s low-lying capitals, then they’ll get their acts together, and get us off fossil fuels”, Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Jonathan Moylan said.

“Twenty-eight countries globally have pledged to phase out coal. Australia is missing out on the opportunities that come with being an early adopter as the rest of the world continues to accelerate the energy transition.”

“We need to close our aging coal fleet and flood the market with abundant, cheap renewable energy. We need to put in place incentives for folks to be buying solar, battery storage and electric cars. This is urgent stuff – and also completely achievable.”

The report, “A Coal Phase-Out Pathway for 1.5°C”, found a rapid acceleration in the reduction rate of coal power globally was needed with urgent plans required to reduce and phase-out coal power, alongside energy efficiency measures and the deployment of low-carbon power sources.

The report calls on OECD countries to phase out coal by 2030 and elsewhere almost phase out coal completely by 2050 to avoid the higher impacts.

For Australia, the research reveals that more than half (53.57 per cent) of Australia’s coal generation needs to be phased out in favour of renewable energy by 2025, with the remainder to close by 2030.

The report comes in the wake of a landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that demonstrates that it is still possible to limit warming to 1.5 degrees by ramping up efforts to decarbonise across all sectors and pursuing natural climate solutions such as reforestation to draw down all the excess carbon necessary

“Last week we saw a commitment from Chungnam Province in Korea to phase out coal by 2025 – that’s 50 per cent of the Korean coal fleet. This transitioning is happening,” Moylan said.

“The Federal government needs to manage the transition or risk failing communities currently reliant on coal exports. Workers and communities should be supported as energy markets change, rather than abandoned by ideologically-blinded governments.”

The report models a scenario where OECD countries with older and more expensive coal plants close by 2030, beginning with the very oldest by 2022, plants between 35 and 50 years old by 2025, and the balance by 2030. Nine of Australia’s coal plants – Liddell, Kwinana, Yallourn, Gladstone, Vales Point, Muja, Bayswater, Eraring and Worsley Alumina Power Stations, with a combined nameplate capacity of 13.6GW, or 53.57 per cent of the total capacity of 25.43GW, are older than thirty-five years of age. Older plants trip more often, and become increasingly costly to maintain.

For interviews contact:

Simon Black

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

0418 219 086 / [email protected]