Raising the BARR – Week ending 17/5/2024

Raising the Barr


Many will be aware that across Australia we are moving our energy production away from fossil fuels like coal and gas, and toward renewables like wind and solar.

Ideally this work would have started in a more deliberate and aggressive way at least 10 years ago but unfortunately at that time the Governments in both NSW and the Federal level couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t make the decisions necessary.

Now we all are going to pay a price for that decade of inaction.

Currently in NSW, indeed right here in our own Hunter Valley, the private operator of Eraring Energy (Origin Energy) made the announcement several years ago that it would bring forward the closure of that coal fired power station.

This decision and announcement was pretty much guaranteeing that the people of NSW would be left with several years of having nowhere near enough energy supply, and they were pretty much pushing us into periods of electricity blackouts. Aaaahhh – the wonder of the free market!

I obviously wasn’t in the Boardroom at the time that decision was made but it is a certain bet that one of the fallback positions planned for would have been a NSW Government, no matter what political stripes, being forced to come begging for an extended life to the Eraring Power Station (i.e. going back to the original timeline for its closure).

And this folks seems to be where we find ourselves now.

The NSW Government is undertaking important talks with Origin to have Eraring stay online for electricity production for an extra couple of years while more renewables and the power lines to deliver that renewable energy are built.

In the background, two neighbouring coal mines that employ approximately 1,000 workers are having their feet held to the fire about possible coal supply to Eraring. Again, this decision is being made in a foreign Boardroom with little regard for those 1,000 workers and their families and our community at large.

It’s like we, as customers and community, are all forced to be spectators in this international corporate game of electricity poker where the only certain thing is that the profits will go to the private pockets and the losses will come out of our pockets.