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Reality of coal-fired power stations hits and peak-prices expected to stay

A report from the Grattan Institute suggests sky-high electricity prices will become the new norm.

The study from the Melbourne think tank says power costs rose by $10 billion between 2015 and 2017.

While solar and wind are alternatives, they only work periodically and despite battery technology not being far off, it’s costly and its capacity to store electricity is minimal.

With a wave of discussion suggesting coal-fired power is a cheap alternative, Energy Program Direction at the Grattan Institute Tony Wood rejects the claims, telling Ross Greenwood “new coal-fired power stations cost more”.

“We’ve had, for a long time in Australia, the benefit of very large, pretty cheap coal-fired power stations. Unfortunately, of course, they’ve also been producing greenhouse gases.

“As they age, regardless of greenhouse gases at all, they have to be replaced and the reality is, that new coal-fired power stations cost more.”

He says the cost of maintaining coal-fired power stations also becomes expensive, but notes cost of alternative energy sources are “coming down dramatically”.

“The cost of the alternatives, particularly wind and solar is almost certainly coming down dramatically.”

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‘Just get used to the pain’ as sky-high energy prices look set to stay