Australia remains dependent on coal despite the recent wind and solar boom

Even with a recent boom in wind and solar, coal has remained the single largest source of electricity in Australia, responsible for over half of the electricity generated in 2021. 

Australia is the world’s worst coal power emitter when accounting for population size. 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 7 GW of coal capacity in the generation mix by 2039-40. 

In February 2022, Origin Energy announced plans to close the Eraring power station – Australia’s largest coal-fired power plant – in 2015, seven years earlier than initially planned, signifying that coal power phase-out may proceed quicker than the announced schedule. 

Last updated: March 2022

Progress towards clean power targets