Governments Can Manage Orderly Exit of Coal Plants


Glasgow International Conference Summit aims to ‘send charcoal power to history‘. But even some major coal-fired countries have agreed to put an end to burning oil by 2030s, Australia is not one of them.

Under it soon system to reach zero emissions by 2050, the federal government has adopted the way the electric sector still burns coal in 2050 – but only slightly.

Although the federal government is pushing for coal to survive, countries are moving ahead to address the problem. But the confusing, state-of-the-art approach is much cheaper for consumers than if Australia had a reliable, reliable climate and energy policy around the world.

As recently Grattan Institute analysis has found, if the coal sector is run smoothly, we can turn on the electricity and reduce the gas at a lower cost.

Coal economy is not compatible with modern grid

Australia exports more coal than we eat. But we still have 25 megawatts of coal-fired power plants, 23 of which are electric generators at the National Electricity Market (NEM). The power plant is aging – two-thirds of the power is expected to close by 2040.

Market conditions make it difficult for these plants to be profitable, as renewable energy has been flooding into the NEM in recent years. Solar roofs have significantly reduced the need for grid electricity during the day, consuming coal-fired lunch.

On windy and sunny days, the prices of cheap electricity are always very low they become negative, punishing the amount of each generator generating power at that time.

In addition, coal-fired power plants are as flexible as batteries, hydroelectric dams, and gas-fired generators. This makes it difficult for the coal industry to continue to generate electricity when electricity prices go up, or down when prices are low or bad.

The economics of coal-fired generators are not good enough for a system with a large amount of solar and wind power.

Coal production is closing sooner than expected

Economic instability – combined with high maintenance costs and increased risk of technical failure – makes it difficult to justify open coal mining crops.

So far this year, three coal and coal-fired power plants have been shut down: Yallourn in Victoria, and Eraring and Mt Piper in NSW.

The power plant and coal are closing earlier than expected

Rapid closure means less coal-fired power in the coming years. For example, the initial closure of Yallourn and Eraring will reduce coal production capacity by 2030 by 1.5 gallons.

But the current closure plan would still leave six coal-fired power stations operating in Australia after 2040.

As stated by CSIRO in July, this did not coincide with Australia following the Paris Agreement’s goal of reducing global warming to 1.5 ℃ this century.

The future of coal is declining as agencies declare retirees.

So what are the nations doing?

South Australia closed its doors the last coal mine in 2016, and NSW has been established as the next Mt Piper station due to closure in 2040. This is from Victoria and Queensland.

The power plant at Loy Yang A and B in Victoria uses brown coal, making them the cheapest but most cost effective alternative. Victoria too set up a volunteer law zero emissions by 2050 and, by 2030, Victoria wants to use 50% more energy.

Pushing for more power in the government increases the chances of the remaining coal radiation being removed. Instead, the owners of each Loy Yang plant also mentioned their closing days will be revealed.

Queensland is a very difficult country, just like Australia very small ships of coal-fired power plants. Five of them are due to be closed after 2040.

But of those five, four are some or all of the Queensland government. This means that the closure period is politically motivated as a financial question.

Queensland also has some of the best renewable energy sources in the country, including many areas suitable for renewable energy projects. Related to his 50% renewable energy by 2030, The government has the tools needed to eradicate coal-fired generation by 2040 or earlier.

Loy Yang B, a coal-fired power plant in Latrobe Valley, Victoria. Shutterstock

We want strong national principles

Grattan Institute analysis find that renewable coal-free systems – as well as only a small portion of gas – can maintain reliable electricity while minimizing low-cost emissions.

This is because the cost of wind and solar is very low, and energy conservation such as batteries can help eliminate the daily fluctuations in demand and availability. For countless times, the most demanding fixed, solar eclipses and low winds (which occur every winter), gas is the cheapest option, until the hydrogen resource is at its best.

Achieving this by 2040 or earlier will be urgently needed money in network transmission within and between countries, allowing countries to share their products and reducing the overall cost to consumers. Hiding the cost of transmission projects is also important – the risk of inflation is high it is a very complex project.

Of course, it will be difficult for the coal to come out systematically. For example, unexpected closures or damage to the coal industry could lead to power shortages because investors in the electricity market do not have enough time to generate new energy.

Wind turbines

The cost of wind and solar has dropped dramatically. Shutterstock

A national plan to regulate coal emissions could reduce power uncertainty.

Grattan has previously urged coal producers to choose a time when their crops will be shut down, inclusive pay at least $ 100 million in an escrow fund. Consumer funds can only be withdrawn if the plant is locked within the selected window – if it comes out unexpectedly, the money is kept by the market seller to deal with any reliable issues.

Governments may also need to close the closed windows before 2040, and not later, if they want to achieve a coal-free NEM by that date. Alternatively – and more effectively – they can establish a NEM emissions standard with licensing sales, allowing market participants to meet the emissions rate at a much lower cost.

Unfortunately, the realities of today’s world show that no political party wants to be seen as inconsistent with any of the common values ​​of carbon, although carbon prices are far from ideal. Australian financial experts and business community.

As a result, the country’s renewable energy targets are the only ones that can determine how NEM operates without coal. But if governments can show resilience, our work shows that it is possible to get very low electricity in less than two decades.Negotiation


James Ha, Assistant, Grattan Institute and Alison Reeve, Deputy Program Director, Strength and Climate Change, Grattan Institute

This article has been reprinted from Negotiation under a Creative Commons license. Read the book of first article.


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