Western Australia To Exit Coal By 2030

‘Massive Uptake’ Of Rooftop Solar & Renewables Prompts Western Australia To Retire Coal Stations

Western Australia To Exit Coal By 2030

Western Australia says the decision to shutter coal power plants for renewables is supported by the fact that investment in new renewable power infrastructure will pay for itself by 2030-31, which will be relative to increasing electricity subsidies under the current system. (Illustrative Photo; Photo Credit: anatoliy_gleb/Shutterstock.com)

  • WA says it will retire state-owned coal power plants by 2030, and not commission any new natural gas-fired power stations after 2030
  • It has taken the decision going by the progress of rooftop solar and renewables in the state
  • Continuing with the current system in place is likely to lead to higher electricity bills for residential segment in the future, it fears

Citing ‘continued uptake of rooftop solar and renewables forces changes in the energy system to ensure a secure electricity supply and guard against higher power bills’, the State of Western Australia (WA) has announced its plans to retire state-owned coal power stations by 2030.

“The amount of rooftop solar coming online currently in WA is roughly the equivalent of adding a new coal-fired generation unit every year,” said WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston. “This is putting unprecedented pressure on the system and we must act to keep costs as low as possible, while transitioning to higher levels of renewables and storage.”

If the current state of affairs continues, household electricity bills will go up from the current average of about AUD 1,800 ($1,240) per year to over $3,000 ($2,067) per year.

“Without the decision to retire the power stations, over the next decade WA would either see major electricity price hikes or taxpayers would be forced to fund billions of dollars of subsidies to keep the system running,” explained the state government.

As per plans, it will shutter Collie Power Station in late 2027 and Muja D station in late 2029. At the same time, it will not commission any new natural gas-fired power stations on the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) after 2030.

Instead, the government will invest AUD 3.8 billion ($2.6 billion) in new green power infrastructure including storage on the SWIS through state electricity company Synergy to ensure supply stability and affordability. Synergy will explore pumped hydro with Water Corporation and hydrogen to power its existing gas generation assets.

It estimates the investment in new renewable power infrastructure will pay for itself by 2030-31 ‘relative to the increasing electricity subsidies payable under the status quo’.

In January 2022, WA said the state’s solar uptake has grown over 600% since 2011 with 191 MW rooftop solar capacity addition in 2021 taking total amount of residential solar capacity in the SWIS to 1.362 GW. In comparison, Muja Power Station—WA’s largest—has 854 MW capacity.

The WA government has promised to carry out transition to higher levels of renewables and storage in a sensible, orderly, consultative manner to ensure workers, industry and communities are strongly supported.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

SENIOR NEWS EDITOR Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews, she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power. In the past 9 years that she has been associated with TaiyangNews, she has covered over thousands of stories, and analysis pieces on markets, technology, financials, and more on a daily basis. She also hosts TaiyangNews Conferences and Webinars. Prior to joining TaiyangNews, Anu reported on sustainability, management, and education for leading print dailies in India. [email protected]

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