Renewables Will Replace Coal: NSW Energy Minister

In another example of states taking the initiative on renewables, the NSW energy minister says wind and solar power, gas and large-scale batteries will replace coal-fired power stations.

Speaking at the Investor Group on Climate Change Summit, Energy Minister Matt Kean said climate change is being “accelerated by human activity”.

“Responding to climate change isn’t green-washing as some critics allege, it’s prudent management for business and government alike,” he said.

Kean said renewables will replace coal not because of government action, but because of economics, RenewEconomy reports.

Kean’s statement comes only days after Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor told the AFR National Energy Summit that coal plants should be replaced with “like-for-like” to ensure reliability.

Business is leading on solar, wind uptake

The Investor Group on Climate Change is a collaboration of Australian and New Zealand investors concerned about the impact of climate change on the value of investments.

Its members include major Australian banks and superannuation funds. Its goal is to bring about “a climate resilient net zero emissions economy by 2050”.

Given Angus Taylor’s stance on “like-for-like” replacement for ageing coal plants, it might seem Kean is breaking new territory.

It is certainly a bold statement coming from a Liberal energy minister, but one that’s following, not setting the status quo in the energy debate.

That’s because businesses are already aware of the ethical and financial benefits of solar energy.

Renewable energy is a better deal

In April the Clean Energy Australia report showed investment in large-scale renewables increased from $10 billion in 2017 to $20 billion in 2018.

Sydney Markets at Flemington houses Australia’s largest private sector rooftop solar with 8,594 rooftop solar panels.

Businesses are keen to lock in fixed-cost energy as electricity prices continue to rise. In 2018, Carlton United Brewery signed a 12-year renewable energy power-purchase agreement in a bid to reach 100% renewable energy.

Ikea is also switching to renewable energy across its supply chain. It reports that 86.7% of its heating and 81.1% of its electricity are sourced from renewable energy.

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