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No time for delay: NSW Government needs to go all in on renewables

Tuesday 25th July 2023 

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the states leading environmental advocacy organisation, has said that the NSW Government needs to get behind renewables and commit to closing coal-fired power plants on time. 

A new report released by Nexa Advisory, outlines more options for closing coal-fired power plants on time by ramping up the renewable energy transition.  

Nexa Advisory engaged Endgame Economics to provide evidence-based insights into the impacts of delaying the closure of coal-fired power. They found that consumers would pay $2,250-$3,000 more in electricity bills if the closures are delayed. 

The report also found that delays to the closures mean we would miss our emissions targets, exceed our emissions budget as well as risk power affordability, reliability and security. 

“There is no need to keep polluting coal-fired power plants open longer than planned,” said Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Officer, Jacqui Mumford.  

“Pouring hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into delaying the closure of aging, polluting power plants, is unacceptable when the alternative is to accelerate investment in renewables and save money for consumers.” 

The report made a number of recommendations, including: 

  • Accelerating new capacity build by mobilising funding through the Federal Capacity Investment Scheme and Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the NSW EnergyCo 
  • Bolster firming capacity through accelerated auctions to bring on “insurance” supply in Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) and amended Long Term Storage Auction (LTESA) contracts 
  • Exploring long-duration storage technologies like flow batteries and liquid air energy storage to support renewable generation projects as well as delivering hybrid storage with generation projects  
  • Facilitate new renewable generation and storage projects outside the REZ to take advantage of existing capacity in the transmission system and underwrite Power Purchasing Agreements to ensure a more rapid delivery of new firmed generation projects 
  • Advocating for new transmission lines to support the clean energy transition, and making transmission contestability a requirement for accessing Federal funds for transmission projects  
  • Distributed energy resources (DER) can play a complementary role through residential rooftop solar, however commercial and industrial DER (systems >100kW)  can play a significant role immediately, especially is the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme was increased from >100kW to >1,000K 

Statements attributable to NCC Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Mumford 

“The evidence from experts is mounting – two reports in the last week have shown what is possible if government has the willpower and the vision to ditch coal and go all in on renewables. 

"What is needed now is bold nation-building action that signals to industry that the path ahead for renewables is clear. 

“Delaying the closure of coal-fired power plants completely blows out our emissions budget, increases costs for the consumer and puts reaching the Federal Government’s renewable energy targets in doubt. 

“There is no time to delay. Climate collapse is happening before our eyes. The government needs to act now to shore up the clean energy transition. We need a swift, orderly and strategic exit from fossil fuels.” 

Statement ends 
Media contact: Anna Greer 
E: [email protected]  Ph: (02) 7208 9482 
Note: NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford is available for comment on request  

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