The giant Hazelwood brown coal generator shut down the last of its 8 units at 4pm yesterday, the latest and the most powerful symbol of the vast and rapid change in our energy system.
Conservatives and the fossil fuel lobby might have wanted to describe the closure of the western world’s most polluting power plant as a futile act, given the attempts by the Trump government to jump back into last century’s technology and ignore climate science.
But just one day after Hazelwood closed, a new $1 billion solar PV and battery storage plant was being unveiled for South Australia, with its proponents insisting that construction would begin later this year…….
….. This is where the myth of “cheap coal” finally unravels. Coal dominates Australia’s electricity generation, still accounting for around 70 per cent of total generation, yet consumers pay a ridiculously high price for their electricity, because if they are not being sc*&wed by generators and retail margins, they are paying huge “transport” costs to the networks.
It was ironic to note that the last price earned by Hazelwood on Wednesday was $148/MWh in its last 30 minute period. At the same time, in wind-dominated South Australia, the price was minus $45/MWh.