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Will the 10 year energy plan meet AEMO’s coal closure timeline revealed today?

MEDIA RELEASE - QUEENSLAND CONSERVATION COUNCIL

Dave Copeman Mob:0408 841 595

 

Will the 10 year energy plan meet AEMO’s coal closure timeline revealed today?

A report released today by Energy & Resource Insights has revealed the closure forecast for Queensland coal fired power stations within the forecasts of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP). 

The revealing of this forecast posed a test for the ambition to reduce electricity prices and carbon emissions in the Queensland Government’s upcoming 10 year Energy Plan.  

Under the Hydrogen Superpower scenario in AEMO’s ISP, most closely aligned to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, all Queensland coal will close by 2030, and be replaced by cheaper cleaner renewable energy and storage that makes possible an export green hydrogen industry. 

The Energy & Resource Insights report, commissioned by Queensland Conservation Council, Environment Victoria and Friends of the Earth, unveils the timeline embedded in ISP. 

While AEMO chooses not to explicitly outline the closure dates in the Integrated System Plan, they are able to be unequivocally calculated using the modelling methodology, and the known nameplate capacity of each coal generating unit. 

The report reveals that the lowest cost pathway to a Hydrogen Superpower scenario would involve Callide B Coal Power station closing by 2025, along with Kogan Creek and Tarong, while Stanwell and Gladstone Power stations would close completely by 2028, Callide C power station by 2029 and the privately owned Millmerran power station by 2030. These closure dates are between 3 and 22 years earlier than their official forecast closure dates. 

“This report makes it clear that Queensland can run without coal power stations by 2030. It provides a clear standard that the Ministerial Energy plan should be judged against”. 

“The agency responsible for operating the National Energy Market has calculated that the lowest cost scenario to transform our electricity generation and transmission to a hydrogen superpower involves coal closure by 2030,” said Dave Copeman, the Director of Queensland Conservation Council. 

“If we are to benefit from cheaper, cleaner electricity that will power the industries and jobs of the future, we should be announcing coal power station closures right now, so that they can start in 2025.  

“The upcoming 10 year Energy plan should be built on this pathway, to secure a future for our clean industries and a pathway consistent with global warming below 1.5 degrees. Anything slower puts both the Great Barrier Reef and Queenslanders at greater risk of global warming, while keeping electricity prices higher for longer. 

“I hope Minister de Brenni is getting the right advice, because Queenslanders can’t afford skyrocketing electricity prices they are paying because of high coal and gas generation prices.  

While the energy prices have risen since the release of the 2022 ISP, they did allow for this possibility in the report. “If, for example, recent wholesale electricity prices have been forced higher by higher international fuel prices, domestic coal-plant outages and a lack of transmission capacity, in that order, then investment in low-cost renewable energy and essential transmission is the best strategy to protect against higher prices.

Report attached.




Cost savings of Batteries

The cost of electricity to Queensland consumers could have been reduced by $102million during the electricity crunch in early February 2022 if Queensland’s government owned electricity generators had just two 100MW, 2 hour, batteries.

These batteries would also have made Qld government owned generators $3million in profit between January 31 and February 4, when heat wave conditions were compounded by unexpected coal and gas power outages. 

The Queensland Government set up a $2bn Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund in June 2021, but none of this money has been allocated in the eight months since. 

Stanwell have publicly announced plans for at least one big battery at Tarong. The money and the plans are ready. We just need the Queensland Government to unlock investment in this first step to a cheaper, greener and more reliable electricity system.

Read the full report.


Qld energy planning lagging dangerously behind National roadmap

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) 20 year energy roadmap released today forecasts renewable energy will meet 83% of national demand by 2031 and Queensland’s coal fired power fleet should begin retiring in 2025, to close 70% of units by 2032. The energy roadmap comes ahead of the State’s 10 Year Energy Plan and in the midst of surging power prices. 

Queensland Conservation Council Energy Strategist, Clare Silcock, says that the 10 Year Energy Plan should follow the national roadmap. 

“AEMO’s roadmap confirms the energy transition is accelerating and irreversible. It forecasts that cheaper renewable energy will drive coal replacements up to three times faster than currently scheduled, which the Queensland Government needs to start seriously planning for,” Ms Silcock said. 

“Today’s final 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP) is far more ambitious than the Queensland Government’s 50% renewable energy target by 2030. This is not a political ambition, it is a reflection of months of consultation with stakeholders to determine the most likely future,” Ms Silcock said.

“With the current energy crisis exacerbated by unreliable coal in Queensland, with multiple breakdowns at peak times, building new renewable energy to replace coal cannot come soon enough.”

“The ISP’s Hydrogen Superpower scenario reinforces that there are huge opportunities for Queensland in future industries supported by reliable renewable energy. Queensland has all the resources we need to lead in the development of industries such as hydrogen, green manufacturing and green metal production. We need the Queensland Government to get the planning right to replace coal with renewables and aim for the hydrogen superpower economy” Ms Silcock said.

“Queensland Government’s CS Energy and Stanwell have the unique opportunity to lead the renewable energy transformation while ensuring workers and communities are supported into new industries. We need the 10 Year Energy Plan to lead this transition in a way that protects workers, communities, cultural heritage and biodiversity. 

We need the Government to fund transition planning in our regions and set out clear guidelines for managing renewable energy development in a way that improves biodiversity and ensures free, prior informed First Nations consent.” Ms Silcock said. 

Media contact: Clare Silcock [email protected]


Solving Queensland's Energy Crisis - Webinar

Australia's fossil fuel reliance has meant that Queensland has had the highest wholesale prices in the National Electricity Market since late 2021. First outages at coal and gas-fired power stations drove up prices and then fuel was then added to the fire when Russia invaded Ukraine and the international price of coal and gas skyrocketed. While some global factors are outside of our control, it cannot be disputed that our ageing coal power stations are becoming increasingly unreliable. 

Our Webinar: Solving Queensland's Energy Crisis, hosted with Solar Citizens, dived into the details of why Queensland is feeling the crunch and what we need to demand the Queensland Government does to fix it. 

Queensland Conservation Council's Energy Strategist and Renewable Energy Engineer, Clare Silcock, break down the issue and offer solutions to fix it.

Don't forget to sign up to our upcoming actions, including the launch of Queensland CAN: a report underpinning a roadmap for Queensland to create jobs by building climate solutions that cut climate pollution

Following the Queensland CAN launch we'll be rolling out a bunch of actions like meeting with State MPs to ask them to support the Queensland CAN roadmap, and sharing the report with the community via events and market stalls - sign up to volunteer here. 


Queensland Renewable Industry Races Ahead but Target Falls Short

Queensland’s accelerating renewable energy pipeline is on track to supply 50 per cent of the State’s electricity demand by 2025, five years ahead of the State Government target.

If Queensland caps ambition to a 50 per cent target it will mean we’ll miss out on new clean manufacturing opportunities in renewable hydrogen, solar panel and battery storage production and the future-proof regional jobs in these industries.

The Queensland Government must match the clean energy ambition we’re seeing elsewhere in Australia and aim to repower our entire system with renewables by 2030. 

Read more 

 


State Of Renewables - QLD vs NSW

It’s a critical time for our energy systems. Other states and territories are surging ahead with a planned transition away from fossil fuels and to clean, green renewable energy. But while Queensland is increasing its renewable energy supply, there is no plan to phase out coal fired power stations.
     
 
 
     
Do we really want to come this far just to drop the ball before crossing the line?
 
Please take the Power Up pledge and show our politicians that Queenslanders want to move beyond coal and become a renewable energy superpower.