Climate Council hits back in Liddell power station debate

Renewables boom will be slowed by NEG says Climate Council ahead of 10 August COAG meeting.

The Climate Council has hit back at the Federal Government’s plans to keep the Liddell coal-fired power station open, describing it as “old, dirty and inefficient”.

The Council says despite locals, employees and climate experts advising closure, the Government wants to refurbish Liddell.

“Built in 1971, the plant is riddled with problems and needs extensive and costly repairs,” the Council said in a statement.

“However, Australia’s leaders are having withdrawal issues and are clinging on tight to this tired, inefficient power station.”

The Council claims that to keep the plant functioning will cost $900 million. This will keep it operating for ten years beyond its original closure date of 2020.

Liddell already past its use by date

The ageing plant is already buckling under pressure.

Coal-fired power station

Have coal-fired power stations reached their use by date?

Eroding pipes, boiler leaks and a run-down coal conveyor system mean Liddell is consequently operating at roughly 35 per cent of optimum capacity.

“If the refurbishment goes ahead, it is predicted that Liddell will emit between 50-60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over ten years,” the Council also claims.

“Replacing this relic with renewable energy would reduce fine particle pollution in the Hunter Valley by almost 200,000 kg each year.”

Renewable energy booming in Australia

Renewable energy is booming in Australia, according to Council. It cites the Bungala solar project in South Australia, which will cost just half of the cost to maintain Liddell.

In addition, Port Augusta will soon be home to the world’s biggest battery, and the ACT is on track to meet its 100 per cent renewables target by 2020.

A ReachTEL poll released by the Climate Council earlier this week asked what should happen to the Liddell station.

Seventy-seven per cent of respondents said public money should not be used to extend the station’s life.

The most popular alternative, chosen by 59 per cent of respondents, is to introduce a Clean Energy Target policy. This would then encourage clean energy sources to replace the coal-fired station.

“Australia is catching on,” the Council adds. “It’s about time our pollies did too.”