, Australia

Australia’s coal plants may soon go extinct

Wind and solar edging coal plants out of Australia’s power mix.

Australia may soon bid goodbye to coal power plants as coal generators go broke, according to Energy Security Board chairman Kerry Schott,

“The coal generators are going broke. So those of you who are worried about coal retiring, please don’t. It’s happening, and it’s happening for commercial reasons,” Schott said in the Smart Energy Conference, Australia's premier event for solar, storage and energy management.

Schott said coal is getting dispatched by wind and solar energy because they are cheaper. 

“They have fuel costs that are zero. So their marginal cost is effectively zero. But if you run a coal plant, you’re buying coal, and you could well be, if you’re buying black coal, paying A$40 ($30) a tonne, and you’re burning this stuff because of the technology, every minute of the day,” Schott said.

Schott added that the economics of operating a coal plant are working to push ageing plants out of the market sooner because it makes less and less sense to spend money maintaining the plant. This will lead plants to become unreliable, and their eventual retirement will only come sooner.

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