By Pritish Raj and Suyash Pande
June 14, 2022 - Western Australia's state-owned coal power stations will be retired by 2030, as part of their efforts to transition to a greater use of renewables, especially rooftop solar, the government said in a statement June 14.
"... the continued uptake of rooftop solar and renewables forces changes in the energy system to ensure a secure electricity supply and guard against higher power bills," the government said.
While the Collie Power Station will close in late-2027 and Muja D in late-2029, Muja C's Unit 5 will close later this year and Unit 6 in 2024 as previously announced. Both are run by state-owned power generator and retailer Synergy.
"For more than a century Collie has literally powered the State -- and my government is absolutely committed to ensuring the town has a strong economic and jobs future," Premier Mark McGowan said.
"The reality is our current electricity system is becoming increasingly unsustainable due to the uptake of rooftop solar and growing demand for renewable options for generation. Maintaining the status quo would see average yearly household power bills increase by over $1,200 within eight years."
According to the government, an estimated $3.8 billion will be invested in new green power infrastructure in the South West Interconnected System, or SWIS, including wind generation and storage to ensure continued supply stability and affordability.
By phasing out coal-fired power, Synergy's carbon emissions will be reduced by 80% by 2030, including a 40% emissions reduction on the SWIS, compared to 2020-21 levels, the government said.
"The amount of rooftop solar coming online currently in WA is roughly the equivalent of adding a new coal-fired generation unit every year, energy minister Bill Johnston said. "This is putting unprecedented pressure on the system and we must act to keep costs as low as possible, while transitioning to higher levels of renewables and storage."
Meanwhile, the government has announced a $547.4 million transition package to secure new industrial projects and create jobs in Collie. Even as around jobs are expected to be affected in the coal mining town of Collie, the government said the transition package will support the town of Collie over the next decade, to grow new industries and local jobs.
"The Collie Transition Package includes a new $200 million Collie Industrial Transition Fund, expanded skills and training opportunities for workers and additional job-creating investment."
Coal is around 10% of West Australia's energy consumption in 2019-20, according to Australia's Department of Energy, Science and Industry.