The Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria – the biggest single polluter in Australia – began winding down its capacity overnight with the closure of one of its eight units at around 2.30am, and another later in the morning.
The process will continue over the next two days, with the final unit due to shut down sometime on Wednesday. Although the first two units were closed, at the time of writing larger units at the other big brown coal generators – Yallourn, Loy Yang A and Loy Yang B – also remained sidelined.
This graph from IT Power’s Ben Elliston sheds an interesting light on the closures of ageing coal generators in Australia.
Liddell is now the oldest station and is scheduled for retirement in 2022, or earlier if the nearby Tomago smelter closes earlier. While some of the least efficient power stations have been removed, others, such as Yallourn, remain in the system.
“The pace of closures over the past couple of years is unlikely to continue in the short term because
supply is tightening,” says Elliston, who as a researcher with UNSW was a co-author of the one of the most detailed 100 per cent renewable energy scenarios for Australia.
“Policies are still needed to force out the highest emitting stations and to replace their output,” he says.