Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy in the Hunter today

The Coalition’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy is urging the Albanese Government to “reveal its plan to keep the lights on”.

Ted O’Brien is in the Hunter today, heading out to the site of the Kurri Kurri gas fired power plant to demand answers on how the state will keep the lights on when the Liddell Power Station shuts in ten days time and Eraring in just two years time.

“I don’t think we will have a replacement in time. When you look at all of the baseload power stations that are closing, by 2035 that’s 80 per cent of baseload power out of the grid, 80 per cent. There’s no guarantee of replacement which means prices will skyrocket and the lights will go out,” Ted O’Brien said.

“This is not a fight about pro-coal, anti-coal, this is about keeping the lights on. It’s a basic human right in a first world country and that’s being put at risk by dumb policy and ideological idiocy so we just have to do everything we can, put pressure on the government to make sure they use pragmatism.

“We’re not saying renewables are bad, we are saying if renewables are to succeed they need complimentary technologies. We’re saying you don’t close down an entire system without having a replacement there ready to go, but the Labor government seems insistent on doing so.”

In 2017 when the Liddell Power Station first announced its closure, the Coalition said they worked closely with AGL to extend its operations and commissioned the 660MW Kurri Kurri gas plant to replace the gaping hole in the energy market.

When the project was announced, Labor said they would only support it if it would run on green hydrogen, or at least 30 per cent for a start.

Ted O’Brien is calling on the Albanese Labor Government to scrap its plan for the Kurri Kurri power station to run on 30 percent green hydrogen.

“Labor’s plan for Kurri Kurri to run on 30 percent hydrogen is neither achievable nor costed, and its pig-headed refusal to accept that reality only heightens the risk of the lights going out.”

He said that plan has already seen the projects price tag more than double and its timeline delayed by at least a year.

“It’s not going to happen, everyone knows its not going to happen. But in a very pig headed way they were very insistent, and as a result we’re not looking at major postponements and we’re looking at December 2024 at this point.

“This is on the Labor Government for not being ready, for not having that Kurri Kurri plant up and running and ready so we’ve just got to hope that the winter doesn’t bite and the summer isn’t too harsh otherwise we will have serious issues with our grid.”

While in the Hunter, Ted O’Brien will also be meeting with local businesses.