Australia has shuttered its oldest coal-fired power station as part of a shift towards renewable energy. The Liddell power plant in New South Wales provided around 10% of the electricity used in the country’s most populous state. It will be replaced by clean energy projects, such as a hydrogen power plant. Owner AGL has pledged that more than 90% of the materials from the plant will be recycled. Australia’s center-left Labor Party, elected on a pledge of climate action, has committed to securing 82% of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Currently, renewable power accounts for around 30% of the country’s energy mix.
Australia, one of the world’s largest coal producers, has long resisted pressure to reduce its coal industry. The country faces enormous challenges in meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050. A series of closures of coal-fired plants is expected to test whether renewables can fill the gap. Renewable electricity, mainly solar power, is driving down emissions and household power prices, according to a government report. While Australia is blessed with natural resources, such as abundant sunshine and windswept coasts, challenges remain in storing and transporting the energy produced. The nation’s economy remains fuelled by coal and gas exports.