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Future of NSW coal-fired electricity study

The Coal Innovation NSW (CINSW) Ministerial Advisory Council recommended a detailed forward modelling study be undertaken to understand what role coal fired power generation and low emissions coal technologies can play to ensure a reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity future for NSW.

The Future of NSW Coal Fired Electricity Generation Study (the Study) was developed in four stages over four years (2016-19) and presents a range of scenarios for future electricity production in NSW, with a focus on reducing CO2 in line with targets outlined by the NSW Government.

Results from the study indicate that, while most of the electricity generation by 2050 will be from renewable sources, there could be a role for coal to provide grid security and generate electricity.

The report recommends to:

  • continue CINSW’s current geological exploration program to make NSW carbon ‘storage ready’
  • expand CINSW’s research into low emissions coal technologies
  • initiate (if necessary) a ‘system security’ study of the entire NEM
  • develop a NSW carbon capture and storage roadmap

Download the Wholesale electricity pricing modelling report. (PDF, 11.86 MB)

About coal fired power generation in NSW

At present, approximately 80 per cent of the electricity produced in NSW is sourced from coal. Coal-fired power generation contributes to grid services such as inertia and frequency response ensuring a secure and stable power grid in NSW and the National Electricity Market (NEM).

However, coal-fired power generation produces higher CO2 emissions than other generation options and accounts for about 36 per cent of the state’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Together with fugitive emissions from mining coal, 48 per cent or nearly half of the state’s total GHG emissions come from coal production and utilisation 1 & 2.

Australia has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by setting targets under the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP21). Australia has established 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 as its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). To complement the Commonwealth Government’s 2030 emission reduction targets, the NSW Government has announced an aspirational transitional objective of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.