The Government has moved to reassure people of the supply of reliable energy following an announcement from Origin Energy that it was seeking approval to close its Eraring Power Station in 2025, seven years ahead of schedule.
The company announced that notice had been submitted to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), indicating the potential early retirement of the plant on the State’s central coast.
Leading the call for calm, Minister for Energy, Matt Kean said Origin had raised the possible closure with him “months ago” and the State had moved to accelerate transmission upgrades and the construction of new electricity generation in response.
“To ensure energy reliability, the NSW Government will work with industry partners to install the Waratah Super Battery, a 700MW/1400MWh grid battery, by 2025 to release grid capacity so Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong consumers can access more energy from existing electricity generation,” Mr Kean said.
“Our giant grid battery will act as a shock absorber, so that transmission capacity currently kept in reserve to handle shocks, such as lightning strikes, can be freed up to transfer energy to consumers,” he said.
“AEMO has advised that this additional transmission capacity will give the State’s consumers access to enough existing electricity generation to meet the Energy Security Target at the time Eraring closes.”
Mr Kean said in order to keep downward pressure on electricity prices, the delivery of new supply would be accelerated through the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap.
“We are also establishing a Transmission Acceleration Facility to accelerate the delivery of priority transmission projects and Renewable Energy Zones, which are modern-day power stations,” he said.
“In addition, we are providing $47.5 million to accelerate the development of pumped hydro in the State.”
Mr Kean said a plan to support the estimated 400 workers likely to be impacted by the plant’s closure would be released in the coming days.