Workers at a struggling coal development could lose their jobs in about two years, authorities have found.
The Federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ Liddel Taskforce has revealed AGL Energy will start closing down its Liddell Coal Fired Power Station in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley in April 2022.
Hundreds of jobs will go
One unit will be closed, following the remaining three just one year after. Such a move is widely expected to bring mass redundancies across the station’s workforce of 250 staff.
A draft report prepared by the taskforce shows keeping the power station open until the year 2026 would cost the government $300 million, making it more appealing to shut down operations early according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
No amount will save workers
Even if the money were to become available there is still no guarantee the power station will remain open due to growing concerns about its reliability and potential to postpone new investment in energy projects.
The government is considering to switch from coal to gas, pumped hydro and batteries once the plant has fully shut down but has not yet made a decision.
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“We have been clear all the way along: As generators come to the end of their natural lives we want to see life extension [of existing plants] or like-for-like replacement,” Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said according to AAP. “This is all about adding in more supply to the electricity market whilst we ensure that the existing supply is managed very carefully.”
The Australian Energy Market Operator is concerned there is a higher risk of blackouts in New South Wales once the power station closes unless there is new investment in energy projects.