Political and climate failure with Government funded extension at Eraring announced
5 September 2023 - The NSW Government is preparing to extend the life of coal mines and coal fired power in the state with a publicly funded lifeline to the Eraring coal fired power station. Earlier plans by the former Government to extend Eraring’s closure from 2025 to 2028 were deemed too expensive with Origin Energy demanding that 90% of lost revenue be compensated by NSW taxpayers estimated to be $3 billion over 2 years.
Greens MP and spokesperson for climate change Sue Higginson said “The Government’s announcement that it is undertaking to prepare the ground for an extension at Eraring is frankly frightening. This is Australia’s largest coal fired power plant and is directly propping up the coal mining industry while fuelling extreme climate change driven events in NSW.
“The extortionate price tag to prop up coal fired power in NSW should be pumped into fast tracking renewable energy production and storage projects to ensure that we aren’t reliant on fossil fuel power for another decade. Government funded corporate bailouts for old and dirty power plants were turned back by the Coalition so it is unbelievable that the new Labor Minister for Climate Change has agreed to this principle in Cabinet.
“Independent experts have made it clear that extending Eraring is not the only way to increase power security. It’s the dirtiest and most expensive way when compared to investing heavily into a rapid decarbonisation of our power system. Meanwhile, a former Labor staffer has prepared a report that says Eraring should stay open and the Government is jumping towards the worst possible choice.
“Where are these billions of dollars going to come from? The Government has ruled out increasing royalties on coal mines to help repair communities that have been devastated by extreme climate impacts, they have refused to claw back more money from fossil fuels to help prepare for further extreme climate events but they seem to be willing to pump billions of dollars into the coal industry. Surely they aren’t considering increasing coal royalties to prevent the closure of Eraring.
“The NSW Government has promised to legislate net zero targets and establish a climate change commission but before we have seen any progress toward that they are entertaining the idea of prolonging the life of one of the most carbon polluting pieces of infrastructure in the country. This is a complete failure to meet the commitments that Labor took to the election and smacks of political cowardice or under the table deals.
“The Government has been very critical of the $7 billion black hole in the budget left by the former coalition government, the fact they’re considering spending almost half of that amount again to prolong our dependence on fossil fuels is absurd. That money must be spent on a long term plan for energy supply that doesn’t cook the planet.” Ms Higginson said.