Yallourn closure signals a transition from coal power generation

11th of March, 2021

Source: The Age

The early closure of Victoria’s Yallourn power plant has underscored the severity of the economic crisis engulfing the nation’s coal-fired generators and escalated warnings that more plants soon may be forced to scale back output or shut down entirely.

Industry insiders and analysts said EnergyAustralia’s decision to fast-track Yallourn’s retirement by four years to mid-2028 is too far into the future to boost prices to support the viability of other loss-making power stations in Victoria and New South Wales.

An influx of renewable energy has driven down daytime prices in both states to six-year lows and is piling enormous pressure on EnergyAustralia, AGL, Origin and the owners of Australia’s other coal-fired power plants, which are more expensive to operate and increasingly struggling to compete with renewables.

EnergyAustralia, which is owned by Hong Kong based CLP Group, is licensed to operate Yallourn until 2032. But on Wednesday it announced it would bring forward the closure and build a massive four-hour battery facility, 350 megawatts in size, to help compensate for its removal from the grid.

Bringing forward Yallourn’s closure has thrown the future of its 500 full-time workers into uncertainty. EnergyAustralia has announced a multimillion-dollar support package for those affected.

Union officials for the plant’s workforce urged the government and EnergyAustralia to develop a comprehensive plan over the next seven years.

Bringing forward Yallourn’s closure has thrown the future of its 500 full-time workers into uncertainty. EnergyAustralia has announced a multimillion-dollar support package for those affected.

Union officials for the plant’s workforce urged the government and EnergyAustralia to develop a comprehensive plan over the next seven years.