28 February 28, 2019

Jump in climate pollution from NSW power stations

Annual climate pollution from the state’s five coal-fired power stations has eclipsed 50 million tonnes for the first time since 2012-13, according to National Greenhouse data released today. [1]

Nationally, pollution from electricity generation declined, yet NSW bucked the trend. NSW emissions from producing energy increased by half a million tonnes compared to the previous year.

Emissions from electricity generation declined nationwide by 6.8 million tonnes, mostly due to the closure of Hazelwood brown-coal power station in Victoria, which was the most polluting in the country.

“In 2016 the NSW Government committed to zero carbon emissions by 2050, but today’s results show they’re failing,” Nature Conservation Council Senior Energy and Climate Campaigner Dr Brad Smith said.

“This increase in climate pollution is equivalent to putting 180,000 more cars on NSW’s roads”

The Hunter Valley’s Bayswater and Liddell power stations accounted for 43% of NSW coal power station emissions. A further 44% was emitted by the Central Coast’s Eraring and Vales Point. The Lithgow region’s Mt Piper power station generated 14%.

“It’s no surprise that students are striking in the streets, this is a complete failure of leadership.

“These latest figures show that rather than reducing our emissions, the state is moving in the opposite direction.”

Tab 1. Climate pollution from NSW coal-fired power stations (years)


Million tonnes CO2e













Tab 2. Climate pollution per coal-fired power station 2017-18

Facility Name

Emissions  (t CO2-e)

Eraring Power Station


Bayswater Power Station


Liddell Power Station


Vales Point Power Station


Mt Piper Power Station




Source: Clean Energy Regulator

“At a time when we need to urgently reduce climate pollution, federal and state Coalition governments have been holding us back by hampering investment in our clean energy future. They have had years to act but have done nothing but talk, delay and sabotage,” Dr Smith said.

“Renewable energy sources and storage technologies must replace coal-fired power plants in NSW by 2030 to keep temperatures rises to safe levels, but that will require strong leadership.

Climate action groups last month outlined what it would take to turn around the state’s terrible performance on clean energy. [2] That includes all political parties committing to:

  • Provide solar power to 400,000 households (including rentals) in the next term of government (by 2023) and to all homes by 2029.
  • Tender for 4000MW of large-scale clean power to be added to the grid by 2023;
  • Power all government operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2023; and
  • Legislate for net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and ensuring all government decisions consider the impact of policies on climate change.


[1] National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Data 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17

 Available at:


[2] www.nature.org.au/media/368594/181220-policy-briefing-a-clean-energy-future-for-nsw.pdf



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