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New report leads to closure of massive coal power plant: 'No reason why the taxpayer should be on the hook'

The 2,880-megawatt Eraring station is now set to close in August 2025.

The 2,880-megawatt Eraring station is now set to close in August 2025.

Photo Credit: iStock

Australia can close down its largest coal-fired power plant and the residents of New South Wales wouldn't experience any interruption in their electricity, according to a new report.

Clean Energy Finance director Tim Buckley analyzed the 2024-2030 power sector and determined New South Wales will get along just fine without depending on dirty old coal. 

"There is no reason why the taxpayer should be on the hook for multiples of hundreds of millions of dollars to keep Eraring open," Buckley told the Guardian. The 2,880-megawatt Eraring station is now set to close in August 2025. 

There are multiple reasons why the Aussies are ready to move on from coal, a major one being that New South Wales is "leading the world in the financing, approval, and construction" of new battery storage systems, according to the report, as the Guardian summarized. 

Numerous battery energy storage systems are in the works, including the Waratah Super Battery. Once complete, it is expected to be the largest standby network battery in the Southern Hemisphere, according to a government source quoted by Cosmos Magazine.

Wind energy is also picking up the slack. Squadron Energy began construction on a 414-megawatt wind farm, and the state's planning department just recommended approval of another wind farm, per the Guardian. 

Buckley explained to the outlet that he was "materially more confident" after several recent initiatives from federal and state governments to support more large-scale renewable projects. 

This is excellent news for Australians and the environment

Coal is a dirty energy source that has devastating health effects on the surrounding community. Burning coal releases airborne toxins and pollutants that are linked to increased risk of asthma, heart problems, cancer, and even premature death. 

As a matter of fact, one study found that particulate matter from coal doubles the risk of mortality compared to other sources of particulate pollution. So, exposure to air pollutants from coal-fired plants is twice as likely to kill you than air pollution created by other sources. 

Not only does coal create serious health risks, but it's also more expensive. A recent study revealed that maintaining a coal plant is almost always more costly than replacing it with a wind or solar project.

The three battery storage systems in the works to meet New South Wales' energy demands are fittingly being built on the sites of shuttered coal facilities, including the Eraring site — a trend sweeping the United States, as well. 

Numerous coal-fired plants nationwide are shutting down and being replaced with renewable energy such as wind and solar or as energy storage sites. It's a welcome trend that will improve the health of the people in these communities and help keep our planet cooler

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