Sep 12, 2017

Buyer beware: the warning signs for Liddell buyers

The Turnbull government really wants someone, anyone, to buy the Liddell coal-fired power plant. But lessons from Hazelwood should remind any potential buyer that an ageing, dying power plant is often more trouble than it's worth.

Sally Whyte — Political reporter

Sally Whyte

Political reporter

AGL boss Andy Vesey yesterday pledged to "consider" keeping the Liddell power station open for another five years, or sell it after its planned closure date in 2022 in a meeting with PM Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg.

Turnbull and Frydenberg claimed the meeting as a success, but they do not seem to have brought Vesey to their side.

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6 thoughts on “Buyer beware: the warning signs for Liddell buyers

  1. Roger Clifton

    “new development will continue to favour renewables supported by gas peaking”

    Those of us concerned for the greenhouse should not find reassurance in this prediction. Gas peakers (single stage gas turbines) are responsive enough to fill in the gaps when the wind drops, but they are much less efficient than gas thermal (two-stage turbines).

    Our survivors will eventually condemn us for continuing to use gas backing. However, in the meantime, it does offer profits to those of us who have shares in the gas industry or in renewables, depending on the colour of our money.

  2. Tabot Retemt

    Rehab costs for the site? $100M?

  3. Dog's Breakfast

    No business case could be made for keeping this open beyond 2022, I am fairly confident about that.

    The other option, of spending $500m to $1B on new plant for renewables and battery storage would be pretty easy to make, plus you would have new plant with a 40 to 50 year life. While the gas backup makes some sense, there is a strong case for battery backup as that is immediately available for peak periods when wholesale price is hitting its maximum, and the strongest case will be for back-up that is immediately available, counted in nano-seconds rather than hours.

  4. Peter Wileman

    And the mad monk says that the tax payer should buy Liddell. How out of touch can this turkey be? Just throw more money at it, because he knows ‘easy come, easy go’, when you are a self serving, out of touch, snout in the trough Aussie Pollie. Give me a break from these people, there isn’t a statesman within cooee of this lot. Look beyond the next election!

  5. tonyl

    “Arguably Liddell has never been a reliable generator”. Not true. Before Eraring and Bayswater came on line in the early 80s Liddell carried the state. I believe that over its first couple of decades of operation it held the world output record for a plant of its size. It was worked to death and has required a lot of refurbishment over the years. But it’s buggered now of course.

  6. AR

    Whenever there is talk of another mates’ boondoggle the zeros just keep being appended, whether it’s a dam or highway or jobs deficient Ministerial electorate.
    As I have said so often, if a fraction of the billions thrown at old ideas, the bigger & badder the better, were to be deployed on renewable technology, which in essence and by definition is best when small scale & local, the multiplier effect in jobs, local infrastructure and general community weal would go through the roof.
    And post construction, unlike when the pollies’ erection complex subsides, the same benefits continue with maintenance, expansion, modification and innovation, easily undertaken by anyone who can use a screwdriver or knows which end of a spanner to hold.

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