Coal-fired power plants in Australia are the worst offenders in terms of the pollution they produce, and the price they charge their customers for their carbon emissions is also skyrocketing.
A report released on Monday by the Australian Climate Institute (ACI) says the costs of running these plants are now increasing by 30% per year and they’re becoming more expensive to run.
It also says Australia’s carbon emissions from coal-fired electricity generation are now on track to double over the next 30 years, putting pressure on the nation’s climate policy.
“The costs of operating coal-generated electricity generation have been on a long-term decline, while the CO2 emissions generated by coal-burning power stations have increased over the last 30 years,” the report says.
The report said the cost of building coal-powered power stations in Australia is now the fourth-largest single market in the world, after the US, China, and India.
The cost of coal-power plants is expected to increase by an average of 50% a year by 2020.
That will put pressure on Australia’s climate policies, which are already struggling to meet growing demands for energy, including in the fight against climate change.
The government announced in July 2020 it was reducing its emissions intensity by 30%, which means it will now burn fewer coal-fueled power stations over the coming decades, while ramping up renewables like wind and solar.
But it’s now looking at an increase of 60% in 2020 and 2020 2020.
A recent report from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) said Australia’s coal-driven power sector would continue to grow in 2020.
“Despite the reduction in emissions intensity, coal-based power plants will still be Australia’s second-largest source of CO2, behind only natural gas,” the ARENA said.
“We estimate that by 2020, coal power will account for more than a quarter of Australia’s electricity generation, with the number of coal power plants expected to grow from approximately 16,000 in 2020 to nearly 24,000 by 2030.”
The ARENA also said that coal-fuelled power stations will be a key source of greenhouse gases.
“In 2020, the largest emissions of greenhouse gas will be from coal power stations, accounting for approximately 25% of total emissions from the coal sector,” it said.
The ARMA said coal-focused power stations would be “more costly to operate” than their natural gas counterparts.
That means the cost for running them will increase by 30%.
“Coal power stations are also likely to become more expensive over time as coal prices increase, with peak-load coal-stations accounting for a significant proportion of the cost to operate in 2020,” the agency said.
This year’s report also noted that coal power is a key component of the energy mix in Australia, accounting, on average, for a quarter or more of the country’s electricity.
“This means that the majority of Australia will continue to be reliant on coal power generation in the foreseeable future,” the study said.
In 2020, Australia’s power sector is the second-biggest source of carbon emissions behind China, with a total of 13.4 million tonnes of CO 2 emitted per year.
But coal-related emissions are expected to continue to increase, despite a drop in the carbon intensity of the sector in recent years.
It is estimated that by 2030, coal would account for around 40% of Australia, but it’s expected that by then, the number will drop further, to around 16,500.
It’s also expected that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions will increase over the course of the next decade, rising by about 10% a decade.
The latest report also revealed that coal production and power generation are not contributing enough to the nation to meet its climate change targets.
Australia’s energy system needs a shift away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and renewables, and this is now a challenge, according to the report.
“Australia’s electricity system relies heavily on coal and nuclear power, but the number and type of coal and gas power plants has declined,” the ACCI said.