Mark McGowan announces plans to exit Western Australia coal market as east coast energy crisis worsens
The Prime Minister will close two coal-fired power stations over the next 10 years and pump more than $3.5 billion into renewables as Western Australia moves away from coal.
Mark McGowan has announced that Western Australia will exit the coal market over the next decade and pump billions into renewables as an ongoing energy crisis grips the east of the country.
The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that state-owned utility Synergy will close its coal-fired power stations in Collie and nearby Muja by 2030 to make way for a $3.5 billion renewables overhaul.
He said the decision to close the plants was justified, as coal-fired generation is becoming increasingly unsustainable due to the state’s adoption of rooftop solar and demand from other renewable options.
“Technology is changing,” McGowan told reporters on Tuesday.
“With the increasing adoption of solar, wind and renewables, this means that the demand for coal is decreasing.
“That means the costs to households and the cost to industry of governments continuing to buy coal are getting higher and higher.
“Unless something is done, the cost to every household by 2030 for their annual electricity bill will increase by $1,200.”
Collie Power Station will close in October 2027 and Muja Power Station will close in late 2029.
About 1,200 employees are expected to be affected by the shutdowns, but the government and industry unions hope to retrain workers in the renewable energy sector under the state’s “Just Transition” program.
The closures will leave Western Australia with a private coal-fired generator run by Blueswaters Power.
WA’s transition to renewables comes as Australia’s east coast faces an energy crisis, amid coal shortages, coal generator failures and rising demand.
Australia’s Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has warned that New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia will face maximum load outages over the next two days .
Residents of every state are being urged to consider how much energy they are consuming, as ‘short supply’ forecasts were released for Queensland and New South Wales overnight.
The shortages come as soaring electricity prices led the AEMO to set an energy price cap on Sunday, limiting the wholesale price of electricity to $300 per megawatt per hour.
As a result, available power from generators was limited as suppliers would not be able to make a profit at these price levels.
Additional factors, including unexpected coal-fired generator outages and freezing temperatures, are also adding strain to the state’s already strained power grids.