WA takes lead and tells utility to close down fossil fuel generation

The conservative West Australian state government has taken the lead over the rest of the country and instructed its state-owned utility to shut down 380MW of fossil fuel capacity in the next two years. It seems certain that much of this will be ageing coal-fired generation. 

The decision was announced by WA energy minister and treasurer Mike Nahan as he deals with the extraordinary excesses and perverse market incentives that have created a budgetary nightmare for the state – with the annual cost of electricity delivery more than $500 million more than the state-owned utilities can recoup from users.

Nahan, a former head of the arch-conservative Institute of Public Affairs, praised the role of rooftop solar and the likely benefits of battery storage in helping deliver the reforms announced on Thursday, following a two-year review of the state’s energy markets. 

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