Western Australia’s aged Muja Power station has been targeted by solar industry and green groups this week, as a symbol of the state’s old and inefficient energy order, and the need for cleaner, smarter power generation technologies on the state’s sprawling and unsustainable grid.
The Australian Solar Council along with the Conservation Council and Western Australians for Lower Power Prices on Friday morning presented plant in the state’s south-west with a large retirement gift – a massive gold watch – along with the message that the time for centralised coal-fired power had passed.
Indeed, the troubled coal-fired power station is one of the state government’s more disastrous fossil fuel re-investments, after its 2009 decision to refurbish the 30-year old plant blew out by $308 million, due to a botched joint-venture deal and corrosion problems.
Then, in November last year, the wall of the 30-year-old Unit 7 tower attached to the Muja CD plant collapsed, prompting calls for a major safety audit of the Synergy-operated facility, and pushing costs out a further $4 million.
As we have noted many times on RE, WA’s electricity market is unsustainable, thanks to a government history of throwing subsidies at fossil fuel generation to the point that it has squeezed out competitive and efficient renewable technologies.
But if the government and their networks have been slow to shift to renewables technology, consumers are making up for it. As was reported here this week, the immense popularity of residential solar in Western Australia has essentially made it the state’s largest power generating unit, according to research by Curtin University.
“Muja AB power station has served WA well for 50 years, but it’s time for it to retire,” said John Grimes, CEO of the Australian Solar Council, in comments preceding Friday’s Cleaner, Smarter, Affordable Power Forum in Perth.
“It was dragged hastily out of retirement in 2008 and is now one of Australia’s oldest, most inefficient and polluting power stations. Its refurbishment has cost WA taxpayers more than $300 million and it’s standing in the way of investment in solar and clean energy.”
“It’s time to thank Muja AB for its service, give it a gold watch and let it retire in peace and comfort,” said Grimes.