WHY IS COAL SO UNRELIABLE?
During heatwaves, the demand for electricity spikes (mostly due to the use of air conditioning), placing enormous pressure on the electricity grid.
Coal-fired power stations require cooling to function. This is obviously a problem during extreme heat and they can overheat and fail.1 Like an old car, equipment needs replacing often, and repairs can take days.
Last year, black coal plants in the National Energy Market broke down 74 times (once every five days).3 When they trip, they can’t be switched back on quickly, making blackouts more likely to occur.
HOW DO WE REPLACE COAL?
The solution already exists. The only thing lacking is political will. We must replace coal-fired power stations with renewable energy by 2030.
While coal-fired power plants struggle, solar panels turn all that sun into energy.
Solar and wind power is cheap and reliable. Battery storage like the Tesla big battery in South Australia can save the day during peak electricity use, supplying stored energy quickly into the grid.