Australia remains dependent on coal despite the recent wind and solar boom
Solar and wind are changing the electricity mix in every region of the world. And due to rapid growth of wind and solar in Australia, Oceania has recently overtaken Europe, which had been leading throughout this century. However, even with such growth, coal has remained the single largest source of electricity in Australia, responsible for almost half of the electricity generated in 2022.
Ember’s Global Electricity Review 2023 revealed that Australia remains one of the world’s worst coal power emitters when accounting for population size. Another Ember’s report also showed its per capita CO2 emissions from coal power are five times higher than the world average, far ahead of China and India.
Coal generation needs to be completely phased out in Australia by around 2030 in order to put the world on track for 1.5 degrees, according to Climate Analytics. This is significantly ahead of the announced coal retirement schedule, which will still leave around 40% of the 2022 coal capacity in the generation mix by 2030.
In recent years, however, announcements for the retirement of coal fired power stations has accelerated. In February 2022, Origin Energy announced plans to close the Eraring power station – Australia’s largest coal-fired power plant – in 2025, seven years earlier than initially planned. AGL, Australia’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitter, has accelerated the planned closure of its coal fired power stations in Bayswater (2030-2033) and Loy Yang A (2040-2045) – signifying that coal power phase-out may proceed quicker than the announced schedule.
Last updated: May 2023