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Closure of Liddell Unit 3 is another milestone on the road to a cleaner future

The Hunter Valley will pass another milestone on the road to a cleaner future this Friday when one of Liddell power station’s four units stops burning coal, once and for all. 

AGL plans to turn off the other three units in April 1, 2023, which will end the power plant’s 50 years of service. [1] 

“The oppressive load of coal dust and air pollution that has hung over the Hunter and Central Coast for decades will start to lift this Friday,” Nature Conservation Council Policy and Advocacy Director Dr Brad Smith said. 

“It will be a great day for the thousands of people in this region who have been forced to breathe polluted air for far too long. There is still a long way to go, but this is a good start. 

“Air quality in Muswellbrook has breached national standards every year since reporting began. With Liddell closing, next year may be the first year that Muswellbrook residents will be able to breathe healthy air. 

“The closure will also result in a big drop in climate pollution, helping NSW meet its climate goals. 

“Retiring Liddell is equivalent to eliminating the exhaust pipe emissions of two-thirds of the cars in NSW.” 

AGL has signalled that workers at its Liddell plant will be redeployed to Bayswater where possible. 

“We strongly urge AGL to do the right thing by all the workers who have given them years of loyal service,” Dr Smith said.  

“The company should spare no expense redeploying workers to other parts of other business units or retraining those who want jobs in another industry. 

“Liddell has made its owners millions of dollars over the past 50 years, so workers and their families deserve gold-standard support to give them a safe landing. 

“While the closure of Liddell Unit 3 is of enormous symbolic significance, it will also improve the reliability of the grid because Liddell has been plagued by frequent breakdowns. 

“There is now more than enough new wind and solar energy plugged into the grid to cover the retirement of Liddell. 

“But it is a momentous watershed in the Hunter and Central Coast’s communities’ journey to a clean-air future and a carbon-free energy sector.” 

Last month, Origin Energy announced it was bringing forward the closure of its Eraring power station on the shores of Lake Macquarie by seven years to 2025. 

The early closure will prevent the emission of up to 87 million tonnes of carbon pollution, more than the annual emissions of 167 countries, including Austria, New Zealand, and Greece. 

“The five coal-fired power stations in NSW must all close by 2030 to meet our climate goals,” Dr Smith said. 

“NSW must now build wind and solar farms, transmission lines and batteries faster than ever to keep reducing prices and ensure a smooth transition to a clean grid.” 

REFERENCES 

[1] Schedule for the closure of AGL plants in NSW and SA, AGL media release, 2-8-19 

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