Climate Council broadsides NSW climate performance

The Climate Council has issued a damning report into the inaction of the State Government to tackle the increasing impacts of climate change.

The Climate Councils Ageing and Unprepared: Energy in New South Wales report examines the state’s energy infrastructure and continued dependence on coal and gas power, as well as what it calls its ‘tardy transition to renewable energy’.

“NSW has an energy system stuck in the dark ages, and as soon as the heatwaves hit, the old coal clunkers have a tendency to fall over like dominoes,” said Climate Councillor and former president of BP Australasia, Greg Bourne.

“NSW has Australia’s largest and oldest coal fleet. It’s risky business to rely on coal power stations which become increasingly unreliable with age. Last year they broke down more than 20 times,” said Bourne.

The report drew stark contrast to Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, which the Council claims are surging ahead of NSW in adopting renewables.

“South Australia is on track to reach 73 percent renewable electricity in less than two years, while across Australia, almost 10,000 new jobs are being created in the renewable energy industry,” Mr Bourne said.

Key findings in the report include:

  • The emissions trading scheme introduced by NSW in 2003 was a world first and over a 10 year period reduced greenhouse gas pollution by an estimated 144 million tonnes. That is around twice as much greenhouse gas pollution as Australia’s entire car fleet produces in a year.

  • NSW has Australia’s oldest coal fleet and is home to five operating coal power stations which collectively produced 82 percent of the state’s electricity in 2017.

  • NSW is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change with damages from extreme weather events costing the state $3.6 billion per year, with this figure likely to rise in the future.

  • The cheapest and fastest way for New South Wales to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution would be to progressively replace its coal power stations with renewable energy, like wind and solar with storage.

The full report can be found here

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