27. January 2022

New gas plant for the Hunter Valley gets state approval


A controversial $600 million gas energy plant proposed for Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley has gained NSW authorities planning approval regardless of its critics saying it’s unneeded and can improve the state’s emissions.

The Liddell and Bayswater coal power stations near Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley are among those expected to close in coming years.

The Liddell and Bayswater coal energy stations close to Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley are amongst these anticipated to shut in coming years.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

The growth is being funded by the federal authorities and comes after Energy and Emission Reductions Minister Angus Taylor referred to as on the personal sector to offer an additional 1000 MWh of energy capability to guard in opposition to value rises when the Liddell energy plant closes in 2023.

On Monday night the state authorities confirmed it had secured approval, after the planning division earlier issued after which withdrew statements saying it had been accredited.

A spokesperson for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment mentioned the software was accredited following rigorous evaluation and consideration of group suggestions.

“This project will improve energy reliability and security in the National Energy Market as it brings on renewable energy from wind and solar farms, and transitions away from coal-fired power generation over the next 10-15 years,” the spokesperson mentioned.


“The project will provide on-demand energy when the grid needs it and will only operate on average two per cent over a year.”

Critics and a few vitality analysts say the 660MW it should contribute to the community is pointless given the quantity of latest renewable vitality capability being introduced on-line.

“If it was necessary, the market would have called for it, but it didn’t,” Tony Wood, head of the vitality program at the Grattan Institute suppose tank mentioned. “That is why it is being publicly funded.”

Earlier this month NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean, who has developed a coverage based mostly on changing fossil vitality with renewable, additionally voiced scepticism about the challenge.

“If the federal government wants to invest in the industries of the past, good luck to them. I’m not going to knock back half a billion dollars worth of Commonwealth funding,” he was reported as saying by the Cessnock Advertiser.

The plant might be owned and run by the federal authorities’s energy firm Snowy Hydro.

Earlier this 12 months, then-chairwoman of the Energy Security Board, Dr Kerry Schott, advised the Guardian the plant was unlikely to carry costs down as a result of there have been cheaper various vitality sources and the personal sector gained’t construct it. “Because it doesn’t stack up”, she mentioned.

Nic Clyde, the NSW spokesman of the Lock the Gate Alliance, which campaigns in opposition to the growth of the gas and coal business mentioned the challenge was a “$610 million white elephant that will waste scarce public funding that is desperately needed elsewhere, and that will drive up energy prices, not bring them down”.

After last federal authorities approval, building is predicted to start in early 2022 with the plant to be up and working in mid-2023, forward of the closure of the Liddell energy station.

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