There is no relief in view of Australia’s energy crisis, with the country’s biggest energy producer revealing that several of its coal-fired power plants will be out of production for some time.
- AGL has revealed a Victorian coal generator will be out of service for a further two months
- About a quarter of the country’s coal-fired power plants are offline amid cold snap
- This week a crisis meeting of energy ministers convened to speed up the switch to renewables
AGL Energy Limited today confirmed that its Loy Yang A 2 unit in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, which went offline in April, will not be repaired until “the second half of September”.
The company blamed “global supply chain issues and the availability of specialist materials” for the extended outage.
AGL’s release says the unit initially failed following an electrical fault in the generator, but now the generator rotor has failed, extending the repair time by at least two months.
Almost a quarter of Australia’s coal-fired power capacity is offline, which includes around half of AGL’s coal-fired units in Victoria and New South Wales, just as a cold snap hits the east coast.
Breakdowns contributing to the crisis
At its Bayswater plant in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, AGL has confirmed that two units have been taken offline to resolve issues, while another remains down due to scheduled extended maintenance and will be online again in July.
A company spokesperson said Bayswater Unit 2 was taken out of service on Wednesday “to repair a leak in a tube and is expected to remain unavailable for up to 10 days”.
“Yesterday a maintenance issue on the Bayswater Unit 4 Boiler Ash Conveyor required the unit to be out of service for a few days,” the company said.
Consumers have been hit by rising electricity prices and gas shortages, with the new Labor government convening a meeting of state and federal energy ministers this week to discuss the issue.
This meeting resulted in a plan for securing the system and will also make the market operator more responsible in terms of supply.
And the outage news comes as Snowy Hydro’s new development has been hit by construction delays, meaning it won’t produce power until the end of the decade.
“The most unreliable power plant”
Australian Institute climate and energy program director Richie Merzian said he was not surprised the Loy Yang A outage was extended.
He described this power plant as “the least reliable power plant on the entire grid” and said AGL should do more to phase out its coal-fired power generation and switch to renewables.
“It hurt people, especially Victoria, who suffered a cold snap and everyone is relying on her heat to keep warm.”
Greenpeace spokesman Glenn Walker said Australia’s transition to renewable energy must be accelerated.
“The sooner we introduce clean, cheap and renewable battery-backed energy into the system, the better it will be for the climate, the better it will be for Australian households.”
Mr Merzian said it was encouraging that this week’s meeting of energy ministers also decided to accelerate the transition to net zero carbon emissions.
“They agreed they would come back in July and look at a plan on how to decarbonize the electricity sector,” he said.
“So finally, for the first time, we will have this kind of reflection [to] make sure the right people are in the room, and we’re supporting communities along this journey. »