The Case for Seizing Liddell Power Station

The Case for Seizing Liddell Power Station, by David Archibald.

Our power-supply sector is a high-cost shambles because government swings with the Greens, who held balance of power for so long.

It really gets serious when the cheapest and most reliable bits of our power supply system are being destroyed for ideological reasons. So far that has been the case with the Port Augusta power station and Hazelwood in Victoria. …

Now the action shifts to NSW, where AGL plans to close its Liddell power station in 2022 and replace it, in part, with 750 MW of natural gas-fired, piston-engined generation. Based on what AGL is building at its Barker Inlet power station near Adelaide, the generators will be 18 MW each with the ability to also run on diesel. …

Liddell Power Station — coal fired.

AGL plans to profit from a power-supply system that has been made unreliable and “spiky”, revelling in that inherent unreliability by capturing the high prices it creates. Batteries are too expensive for that, but diesel engines provide the fastest reaction times and can be brought on in smaller increments than gas turbines.

Liddell doesn’t have to close in 2022. AGL has put out numbers showing that keeping Liddell going will cost more than the scheme it has concocted, but anyone who has worked for a large company knows that job security often depends on providing management with nothing more or less than the numbers they are looking for. As Liddell is of limited value to AGL, by its own admission, then compensating for nationalising it won’t cost much.

It should then be run by some power station engineers who like being power station engineers and are proud of their work. This is the optimum outcome from here.

hat-tip Stephen Neil