EnergyAustralia is 100% owned by China Light and Power (CLP Group) and owns a suite of generators that include coal, gas, wind farms and battery storage in Australia. It was sold by the NSW government for $1.4 billion in 2011. According to Wikipedia, the mothership company, CLP, owns “a number of power stations in Asia” and most are either coal-fired or fossil fuel power stations. It also owns Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Company.
A year ago the same company that announced it was speeding up the closure of Yallourn coal power plant to 2028 instead of 2032, now warns the transition “may not be smooth” and the governments plan to pay incentives to keep them open “may not be enough”. But back in March last year, when EnergyAustralia said it wanted to close Yallorn, it also said that it wanted to show that the transition is possible “without disruption”. In fact the Managing Director raved at the time “”We are determined to show Australia, that it is possible to move from the old to the new in a way that does not leave people behind.”. Blah Blah Blah, eh?
The plan, apparently, was to close the 1,500MW cheap brown coal plant and replace it with a “large” 350 megawatt battery. The Victorian Minister of Energy said this was reasonable because another 5,000 megawatts of electricity was going to be added to the grid in coming years. Perhaps she didn’t realize that not all megawatts are equal?
Perry Williams, the journalist at The Australian did not ask if EnergyAustralia would profit from getting cheap coal competitors off the grid, thus raising the price every generator earns in the NEM auction system.
Nor did he ask whether the owners, CLP, are calling for orderly transitions out of coal in Asian markets or only in Australia.
Perry Williams, The Australian
Power giant EnergyAustralia will call on governments for a new policy to plan the orderly exit of coal-fired plants from the electricity system amid a growing energy crisis.
EnergyAustralia, which owns the big Yallourn and Mt Piper coal-fired power stations in Victoria and NSW respectively, is under short-term pressure to keep the fossil fuel in the energy mix after a string of big units suffering breakdowns amid a broader crunch in the national electricity market.
EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn station in Victoria – which started operating in 1974 – supplies 22 per cent of Victoria’s electricity and 8 per cent of the national electricity market, but has been under pressure for several years as Australia’s national power grid accelerates a transition to renewable energy.
It will close in mid-2028, more than four years earlier than its planned retirement date of 2032, after striking a confidential deal with the Victorian government. Meanwhile, the final NSW coal power plant will be shut by 2040 at the latest after EnergyAustralia’s decision to bring forward the closure date of its Mt Piper facility by at least two years in a bid to hit new green climate targets.
Did taxpapers pay EnergyAustralia to rush the closure of their own coal assets or are EnergyAustralia trying to hit “new green climate targets” because they are just nice people? Who knows. It’s commercial in confidence. The costs of the Green Transition we don’t have-to-have are always a secret.
Is it possible they will make a motza from shutting cheap coal because they can earn so much more per megawatt hour in a system screwed by a crisis?