NSW energy minister says renewables and storage will replace old coal generators

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NSW Energy minister confident he has right settings to encourage investors to drive decarbonisation of state’s grid, and says responding to climate change is prudent business management.

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Image Credit: AAP Image/Peter Rae
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The NSW energy minister Matt Kean has urged Australia’s  investment community to support new energy projects and drive the energy transition in the state, and predicts that renewables, coupled with storage or fast-start gas generators, will replace the state’s ageing coal plants.

“Here in New South Wales, we have a government that is pro-business and pro-investment,” Kean told the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) summit in Sydney on Monday.

And, in comments that you won’t hear often from the Coalition at federal level, Kean added:

“Changes to the Earth’s climate are being rapidly accelerated by human activity. This change poses a material risk to our prosperity and our way of life.

“Responding to climate change isn’t green-washing as some critics allege, it’s prudent management for business and government alike”.

The Investor Group on Climate Change represents some of Australia’s largest investment managers, including many of Australia’s largest superannuation firms.

Investors have come under growing pressure to account for the risks posed by climate change to their investments and to redirect their investments in fossil fuel companies and towards supporting new renewable energy and storage projects, and to align their portfolios with the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to no more than 2 degrees,

Financial regulators have issued advice to both investors and company directors that there is a growing risk of legal liabilities for failing to pro-actively respond to the financial and physical risks posed by climate change.

NSW is the only Australian state without a specific target for renewables uptake. The state has however set a target of achieving zero net emissions by 2050, which the Berejeklian government has leaned upon to provide the market with a signal to invest in zero-emissions sources of energy.

Kean says he is confident that existing market signals are working, citing the types of projects that are currently in the development pipeline in NSW, with the overwhelming majority of proposed projects coming from renewable energy and zero emissions storage technologies.

“NSW intends to lead the nation when it comes to dealing with the issue of climate change. We will do so decisively, but we will do so responsibly,” Kean told the summit.

“Right now, the energy industry is telling me that [ageing coal] power stations will be replaced with renewable energy in combination with gas and emerging storage technologies. Not because Governments are forcing that to happen, but because the economics are driving it.” Kean added.

The minister drew attention to the 19,285MW of large-scale renewable energy projects that have received planning approval. Kean also pointed to the fact that there are just 1,410 MW of new fossil-fuelled power stations in the development pipeline, most of which are gas-fired generators.

With the 2,000MW Liddell power station expected to be shuttered by 2023, the NSW Government says it is confident that there will be sufficient investment to fill any potential supply gap and that it will be filled by renewable energy and storage projects.

The NSW government recently committed funding to support the completion of preparatory work for 21 different large-scale energy projects across New South Wales. The projects receiving grants to complete pre-feasibility or feasibility studies represented a mix of pumped-hydro, battery storage and renewable energy generation projects.

The comments from a Liberal Party energy minister stand in contrast to his federal counterpart who described the ambitious targets being pursued by State governments in lieu of federal government leadership as “policy insanity”, despite investors repeatedly calling on the Coalition Government to end the prolonged period of policy uncertainty in Australia.

 

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3 Comments
  1. RobertO 1 week ago

    Hi All

    Political speak for NSW:

    Energy minister Matt Kean recently told radio station 2GB and the Daily Telegraph that he saw ‘no competition’ to coal in NSW, and that “coal is absolutely here to stay for decades to come in NSW.”

    So I can tell one thing to one group and I can also tell 100 % opposite to another group.

    No wonder we need an inquiry into the idea of closing Liddell (let’s waste more money because it only taxpayers money and as an elected official I can never waste taxpayers money).

    No wonder we are doing so well in Australia. We have been lied too to get elected, lied too about where we should be going and I believe we will pay for Vales Point and Liddell to be kept open (and how many billions will that be worth).

    • Joe 1 week ago

      Hi RobertO. The Kean is but the latest pollie to speak with the proverbial fork tongue when it comes to the future of Coal and RE. Clearly the Kean hasn’t spoken with Uncle Trevvie / Trevor St Baker, the booster boy for all things Coal powered energy generation; who just happens to be a handy $donor to the NSW COALition; who might just be a teensie bit interested in taking Liddell off AGL’s hands for say for $1million (the magic number for taking over an old Coaler). It was very kind of Uncle Trevvie to take Vales Point off ex-Premier Baird’s hands for…you guessed it…$1millions! And Vales Point wasn’t ex-Premier Baird’s to sell, Vales Point belonged to the people of NSW. The future of Coal is in the very safe hands of The NSW COALition and Uncle Trevvie and Uncle Trevvie sees no problem at all in running Coalers for decades past their so called ‘use by date’.

  2. solarguy 1 week ago

    This man is about as trust worthy as Ivan Milat.

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