Industry experts and Hunter community members have welcomed the New South Wales government plans to speed up the move to cleaner energy by investing in solar panels and batteries, while also ramping up efforts to approve and deliver large scale projects and manage the exit of coal power stations.
Analysts agree that the NSW Government must work to avoid extending the life of the coal-fired Eraring power station at Lake Macquarie. The authors of two separate expert reports this year, Climate Energy Finance and Nexa Advisory have shown there are viable alternatives to keeping Eraring on life support.
The following experts and Hunter community members are available for interview:
Stephanie Bashir Founder and CEO of Nexa Advisory
Location: Melbourne, Vic
Stephanie Bashir said: “The announcement by the NSW Government is a positive step in the right direction. Unlocking network capacity to accommodate utility scale renewables and rooftop solar PV will accelerate the build out and help get NSW back on track.”
“The timing on taking action and measures is critical to ensure we can get the build out back on track and ensure we can close Eraring on schedule.
“Our Analysis clearly shows that if we take action to accelerate the current build rate of renewable generation, storage, and transmission we will get the job of the clean energy transition done on time, while consumers save money now and in the long term.”
“We are of the view that rather than the state government committing hundreds of millions in public money to prop up expensive and unreliable coal-fired power stations, a better approach would be to accelerate the rate at which we deploy new clean energy resources. This would negate or minimise the need to extend the lifespans of coal-fired power stations, and leave energy users and the nation much better off in coming years."
Amanda McKenzie, CEO Climate Council
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said: "Extending Eraring would be a disaster. It will cost taxpayers enormously, continue to pollute and encourage every other ageing coal station to hold out for a handout. The government has a range of other excellent alternatives, from more roof top solar, community batteries and fast tracking the huge pipeline of renewable power ready to come into the system. Investing in renewables will power the state for a generation, while money into fossil fuels will go up in smoke."
also available: Tim Buckley, director of independent public interest think tank Climate Energy Finance
Sam Mella, Beyond Zero Emissions
Sam Mella said: We need to make investments that make us fit for purpose for the future, so it’s great to see the focus of unleashing the potential of small-scale solar for households and businesses. I hope we’ll also see more focus on energy efficiency instead of devoting public funding to propping up Eraring. We are wasting huge amounts of energy heating and cooling our homes. Investing in thermal and energy efficiency provides cost savings and long term benefit for the people of NSW.
The focus on community batteries is also much needed. We have this situation where we are generating so much solar there is curtailment, so all of the solar energy is going to waste. The Australian Energy Market operator has stated if we build more big batteries, we can shore up reliability. So the best value for the people of NSW is more batteries so we can capture the solar that is currently being kept out of the market.
Peter Coughlan - Hunter Renewal volunteer
Location: Lake Macquarie
Peer Coughlan said: “I'm pleased to see the Minns government announcement to accelerate renewable energy generation. Focusing and supporting household solar and battery is the most effective way to reduce the cost of electricity for homes and businesses.
“ Hand in hand with that is the urgent need to progress renewable projects, including the expansion of the larger scale battery capacity of the state. Using taxpayer funds to extend the life of a coal fired power station like Eraring is completely counter to the steps we need to urgently embrace.”
For interviews, please contact:
Jacqui Street on 0498 188 528 / email@example.com
For interviews with Amanda McKenzie, Climate Council, please contact:
George Hyde, Climate Council 0431 330 919 / firstname.lastname@example.org