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Liddell retirement cuts pollution, not reliability, says NCC

21st April 2023 

Liddell retirement cuts pollution, not reliability, says NCC  

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the states leading environmental advocacy organisation, has today highlighted that over 1100 MW of dispatchable capacity has been added to the NSW electricity grid since the closure of Liddell was announced. 

The retirement of the Liddell coal-fired power station over the next week is a case study in cleaning up the state’s climate pollution,” NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford said today. 

Since AGL announced the retirement date for Liddell in 2015, 19 energy storage projects have been completed across the country, and another 33 are under construction.  [1] 

In NSW alone, 1190 MW of firm capacity has been added since Liddell’s retirement was announced, in excess of the 750 MW of average availability Liddell provided in 2022. See table below. 

“We can have a safe climate for our kids and a reliable power grid, and Liddell’s closure is a demonstration of how we must do this” said Mumford. 

“Replacing this power station has huge benefits, including a massive 8% drop in NSW’s greenhouse gas emissions,”[2] 

“That's equivalent to swapping 60% of the cars in NSW with zero emissions EVs. [3] 

The impact of Lidell’s announced closure was to accelerate investment in renewables across the state."

Commentary on keeping old and polluting coal fired power plants open longer than scheduled is only serving to spook investors and make it harder to secure the clean energy generation we need. 

“This has been planned for and the NSW energy system is ready.” 

Firm capacity online or due before summer 2023-24 

Nameplate capacity (MW) 
Tallawarra B gas turbine 
Smithfield gas turbine returned to service (2017) 
Queanbeyan Battery 
Riverina ESS1 
Riverina ESS2 
Darlington Point Battery 
Wallgrove Grid Battery 
Broken Hill Battery 
Bayswater unit 02,03,04 upgrades 
Mt Piper unit 1 upgrade 
VNI minor 
QNI minor 


Statement ends 

Media contact: Clancy Barnard 

Note: NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford is available for comment on request  


[1] Clean Energy Council, Renewable Projects Quarterly Report Q4 2022  

[2] NSW greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be 111.6 Mt CO2e in 2023. Source: NSW Emissions Dashboard; Liddell emitted 8.46 million tonnes of CO2 on average in the five years from FY16-17 to FY 20-21. Source: Clean Energy Regulator, greenhouse and energy information by designated facilities 

[3] There are 4.4 million passenger vehicles in NSW, which drive an average of 11,000 km per year, each emitting 3.1 t CO2e per year. Sources: ABS, 9208.0 - Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia, 12 months ended 30 June 2016; ABS Motor Vehicle Census, Australia 2021; Greenhouse accounts factors 2022, DCCEEW. 

Let the Hume Coal decision mark the end of new coal projects in NSW

Climate change is a conspicuous omission in the list of reasons the NSW Independent Planning Commission has given for rejecting the proposed Hume Coal mine today. [1] 

“The IPC’s decision is correct and welcome, but it is disappointing that the climate impacts were not mentioned given the International Panel on Climate Change issued its most sobering report to date just weeks ago,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian. 

“Yes, the water impacts of this ill-conceived project were extremely risky. And yes, the mine should have been rejected for these reasons alone.  

“But the fact the IPC barely touched on climate highlights the deficiencies of the planning system in coming to grips with the greatest environmental hazard we face. 

“I wish today’s decision marked the end of new fossil fuel proposals in NSW, but companies with more fossil fuel proposals are queuing out the door of the Planning Department. 

“Just a few weeks ago, Centennial Coal announced plans to open a new mine at Angus Place near Lithgow. 

“We cannot afford to let the fossil fuel industry open any new mines or gas fields if we are to have a hope of keeping global temperature rises to within safe levels. 

“But no new mines should be approved in NSW. The urgent need to reduce carbon emissions across the planet says that we simply can’t afford fresh fossil fuel projects.”  


[1] Hume Coal impacts ‘too great to be reasonably managed’, IPC finds, IPC, 31-8-21