Coal power projects called off globally
The Powering Past Coal Global Summit 2021 was this year’s largest global gathering on coal power phase-out. It brought together leaders from national governments, regions and cities, banks and investors, energy majors and grid operators and other related sectors to share their experiences and best practices on coal phase-out.
At the PPCA summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has signalled the end of worlds addiction to coal, which will be a big leap towards a fairer, safer, healthier world.
Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement. By transforming development trajectories, reducing emissions and adapting to climate change impacts, they work for achieving long-term goals of sustainable development. The global coal use in electricity generation must fall by 80% below 2010 levels by 2030.
PPCA calls for:
• Cancelling all coal projects in the global pipeline.
• Ending international financing of coal plants and shift that investment to renewable energy projects.
• A global effort to organize this transition to ensure that needs of all coal communities are recognised.
The disadvantages of burning black rock are many. Fossil fuel related air pollution cause 1 in 5 of all deaths globally. In Australia, it represents about 4 per cent of all deaths each year, or about 5,700 fatalities.
Burning coal was responsible for hundreds of premature deaths in New South Wales every year. This doesn’t include impacts from other fossil fuel combustion such as gas-fired electricity generation and transport.
Some of the coal fired power stations in Australia are phasing out as the Secretary-General Guterres urged OECD countries to commit to phasing out coal power by 2030, and non-OECD countries to do so by 2040.
Three to five of the remaining fifteen coal power stations in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) will be under financial stress due to the huge amount of renewable energy supply expected to be added to the NEM over the next few years.
The supply added from 2018 to 2025 is more than 8 times the annual generation of the Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW and covers over a third of the entire demand in the NEM.
Each year CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) work with a range of industry stakeholders to give an updated estimate of the cost to generate electricity for new power plants in Australia, through their GenCost report.
Last year’s GenCost report has more accurately calculated the integration costs of renewables in electricity generation, which includes energy storage and transmission expenditure, and found that solar and wind continue to be the cheapest source of energy in Australia. The end of coal-fired generation in Australia is inevitable. Zero marginal cost, zero emissions energy is now a reality.
The government has to manage the coal phase down well. The government has to ensure an orderly transition, maintain energy security, avoid price spikes that have followed past closures, look after affected workers and communities, and ensures Australia meets its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to 26-28% below 2005 levels. Morrison Government is expected to support a speedy transition.