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What will happen after all the coal power stations close by 2040 - and how will it impact you?

It's June 2015 and industry is humming. Power is cheap mainly due to our vast coal reserves and large base load power plants. The wholesale cost of power sits at $34 per mWh or 3.4 cents per kWh.

Fast forward to August 2019 and the wholesale cost of power sits at $102 per mWh or 10.4 cents per kWh.

That is an increase of over 200 per cent - in four years.

How do you run a business in Australia when one of your largest costs has tripled in 3 years?

How do you plan for the next 3 years when the government has no clear path to solve this problem?

When Engie closed Hazelwood in April 2017, Victorians lost 20 percent of their power supply. Not to mention, each year 122,000 people move to Victoria increasing the demand for power.

28 months after Hazelwood went offline, the public is still waiting to hear how generation is going to be replaced.

What is happening now you ask?

More power stations are closing.

  • Liddell Power Station, which accounts for 10% of NSW power supply, is set to close in 2023. It was due to close in 2022, however, the government negotiated a further 12 months of generation with operator AGL, to kick the problem a little further down the road.
  • Yallourn Power Station was actually planned in 1919, built from 1921, with an intended lifespan of 50 years. It’s certainly due to close! It’s now set to close in 2029, no 2032, actually 2025. You take your pick - we have heard conflicting options; you will get a different answer from Energy Australia, the Australian Energy Market Operator or the energy press.
  • Loy Yang B is scheduled to close in 2047, by potentially as early as 2035.
  • Loy Yang A is the final Victorian coal plant scheduled to close in 2050.

It is possible that in 15 years time, Victoria may only have 1 base-load power source in operation.

How will the government replace the power being generated by coal plants?

The jury is out on this one.

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