Eraring Extension Is Breathing Space Dont Waste It

“The two year deal to extend the Eraring power station will add to the critical window for governments, regulators, industry and the community to get new energy assets built,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of national employer association Ai Group, said today.

“Updated energy forecasts earlier this week made clear that with Eraring’s scheduled closure and without new assets that are planned but not yet approved, NSW and the wider grid would undermine reliability of supply. This two year deferral buys some time, but not much. We have to use it well.

“Transmission lines, wind and solar farms, batteries, pumped hydro, and backup gas peakers are planned across the National Electricity Market but too few have been approved or built at the pace required. Demand side energy upgrades can take pressure off the whole system if done smartly, but too few are taking place. Reforms, announcements and interventions have been feverish but concrete delivery has lagged across Australia.

“Planning and environmental approvals processes exist for good reasons – new development can have significant impacts on neighbours and landscapes, and those can be reduced with good practice and good siting. Those processes have to work much faster and more efficiently, however.

“The costs of stasis are very real too. NSW will have to pay up to $450 million to keep Eraring open – money that could have built for the future rather than keeping the past on life support. Emissions will be higher than they need to be. The finances of other coal fired power stations will erode faster. Eraring is old and, as a recent outage showed, still might not be there when needed.

“This extension decision was necessary and the NSW Government should get credit for taking it so transparently. The fact that it became necessary, despite the closure being announced in 2022, is no credit to anyone.

“The Government has an extension. The homework remains to be done. It’s time to knuckle down and get new energy resources approved, built and operating – or we will be back here again, whether with Eraring or the other ageing power plants slated to close in the next ten years,” Mr Willox said.

/Public Release. View in full here.