The Victorian government is facing calls to start planning for the closure of Yallourn power station after the release of analysis that predicts some coal plants could close as soon as 2025 because of the rapid growth in renewables.
- Energy analysts say the renewables boom could force the closure of up to five coal-fired plants
- Victoria's Yallourn power station is the state's oldest
- Community groups want transition planning to start to minimise the effect on the community
The analysis by Green Energy Markets and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) predicted up to five of Australia's 16 coal plants could close by 2025 because of an expected 28 gigawatts of clean energy expected to be connected to the grid.
Energy Australia's Yallourn power station, in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, is the state's oldest and is scheduled to close in 2032.
But the growth in renewables, coupled with the plant's age and the Victorian government's plan to introduce an emissions reductions target mean there are growing concerns the plant will not make it to that date, putting at risk 450 permanent jobs plus those of hundreds of contractors.
The analysis found if power prices continued to decline, Yallourn, along with the Eraring, Mt Piper, Vales Point B and Gladstone black coal plants would be making a loss by 2025.
Green Energy Markets analyst Tristan Edis said, in addition to falling power prices, the need for maintenance and the age of the power stations would drive decisions about how long to keep coal plants running.
"There's a real risk that Yallourn could shut far sooner than the current schedule of 2029 to 2032 and so that's something that I would like to think that governments are very mindful of."