Solar and wind power can replace Liddell Power Station, alliance says

Wind and solar power can meet an electricity shortfall from the closure of Liddell Power Station in the Upper Hunter in 2022 and reduce power bills, the Australian Wind Alliance says.

The alliance’s national co-ordinator Andrew Bray said 3600 megawatts of new wind and solar farms were “ready to play their part in replacing the 1680-megawatt capacity of Liddell Power Station when it closes”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is seeking to extend the life of the Liddell plant by five years, but Mr Bray said this was the wrong move.

“The government’s obsession with coal and schoolyard name calling is putting politics ahead of Australian households, while power bills continue to rise,” Mr Bray said.

“You can’t fix engineering problems with politics. The worst response to spiralling energy bills and a fragile system would be to prop up an old clunker like Liddell.”

Mr Bray said Liddell was Australia’s “oldest and least reliable plant”.

“It failed during the February heat wave in NSW at a time when it was needed most,” he said.

He said more than 1000 megawatts of wind and solar projects were being built in NSW, with a further 2600 megawatts of projects approved and ready to go.

Construction periods of one to two years meant these projects could be “up and running by 2022”.

“Cheap renewables combined with batteries and demand management will keep the system reliable and lower power bills.”

He added that new wind and solar farms would generate power at different times in different parts of the state, so their “output is highly predictable and dependable”.