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Synergy's generation transformation

Synergy is leading Western Australia transition to a sustainable energy future. The State Government has announced an estimated $3.8 billion of investment in new renewable energy infrastructure , which will be delivered through Synergy, to support the state’s energy transformation.

 

Wind turbines at a wind farm

 

 

Synergy is innovating and adapting its operations to deliver more sustainable energy solutions for a new energy future, while continuing to provide affordable energy for generations to come. 

The State Government has announced Synergy’s coal-fired Muja and Collie power stations will be retired by 2030 as Western Australia embraces more renewable energy generation technology. We are working closely with our people who will be affected by these power station closures as part of our best-practice Workforce Transition Program.

The State Government's estimated $3.8 billion investment in new renewable energy infrastructure presents an exciting opportunity for Synergy to expand its renewable generation assets as the State transitions to a more sustainable energy future.

By phasing out coal-fired power and building new windfarms and commercial batteries, Synergy's carbon emissions are projected to be reduced by 80 per cent by 2030, compared to 2021 levels  – which is a significant step towards achieving our target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Synergy’s strong renewable energy experience includes its operation of wind farms from Hopetoun to Coral Bay and its delivery of Western Australia’s first solar farm, Greenough River Solar Farm, in 2012. Renewable energy facilities such as the Albany Grasmere and Warradarge wind farms, which are joint ventures with Bright Energy Investments, further complement Synergy's renewable energy generation portfolio.

Our ongoing involvement in WA's renewable energy transition includes supporting State Government initiatives such as the big battery project and developing Australia's longest EV charging network. The energy transition will also be supported by a new operations centre at Pinjar Power Station, which is anticipated to operate 24/7 once reforms to the Wholesale Energy Market come into effect in 2023.

To learn more about the State Government’s announcement and the energy transformation, refer to the below FAQs. You can also visit the State Government’s Brighter Energy Future website.

Most popular FAQs

What is the announcement?

The State Government has announced that Synergy’s Muja and Collie coal-fired power stations will be retired by 2030 as part of its energy transformation strategy. An estimated $3.8 billion will be invested by the State Government in new power infrastructure in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), including wind generation and battery storage. 

This plan is projected to see Synergy’s carbon emissions reduce by 80 per cent (from 2021 levels) by 2030 and is a significant step towards achieving our long-term ambition of net zero emissions by 2050. The State Government has also committed to not commissioning any new natural gas-fired power stations in the SWIS after 2030.

Will this increase the cost of my electricity bill?

Household and business electricity prices are determined by the State Government each year as a part of the State Budget process and are currently capped at inflation.

The State Government has stated that the $3.8 billion investment in new renewable power infrastructure is expected to pay for itself by 2030-31 relative to increasing electricity subsidies payable under the status quo.  

Will the reliability of the electricity grid be impacted?

The State Government has stated that maintaining electricity reliability is a priority.  Synergy is planning for new wind farms to be constructed over the next seven years, along with more battery storage. 

More information on these new investments will become available in due course.

Other FAQs

Why is Synergy closing Muja and Collie power stations?

Muja and Collie power stations are State-owned government assets. This announcement by the State Government to retire these assets is in response to Western Australia’s changing energy needs, to set up future reliability and affordability of supply as part of the transition to a more renewable energy future. 

The continued uptake of rooftop solar and renewables across the state’s main electricity grid, the South West Interconnected System has reduced demand for electricity at certain times during the day. Generation from Muja and Collie is no longer able to compete economically with renewable generation technologies like solar and wind, where costs continue to fall.

The cost of starting up and shutting down a coal-fired generator can range between $50,000 and $150,000 for each start-up and restart times are long, taking up to 24 hours.

When will Muja and Collie power stations be retired?

Synergy's Muja Power Station is the oldest coal-fired power station in Western Australia. It is split into two parts, Muja C and Muja D, each containing two generation units. Synergy’s Collie Power Station has been functioning since 1999 and is operated and maintained by Worley Power Services. 

In August 2019, the State Government announced Muja C would be retired in a staged approach to support reliable and affordable electricity supplies. Muja C is scheduled to be fully retired by October 2024.

As part of the new announcement, the State Government has provided indicative retirement dates for Muja D and the Collie Power Station. 

The indicative retirement date for Collie Power Station is October 2027, and Muja D is October 2029, however the State Government has indicated that these dates are subject to further required approvals and dependent on several factors. 

What will happen to the impacted workers and the town of Collie?

Synergy will continue to play an active role in supporting the State Government’s Just Transition program for Collie, which is intended to support affected workers and the Collie community in the transition from emissions-intensive generation to renewables. 

Read the State Government’s Collie Just Transition Plan and Synergy’s Workforce Transition Program for more information.

Why is Synergy moving away from coal?

Over the past few years, more renewable electricity generation such as wind farms, solar farms, and rooftop solar panels, have joined the grid. This has impacted the sustainability of traditional coal-fired power stations.

Retiring Synergy's coal generation enables the State Government to accelerate their clean energy transition and support Synergy’s commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Isn’t coal a more cost-effective means of electricity generation?

Generation from Muja and Collie is no longer able to compete economically with renewable generation technologies like solar and wind, where costs continue to fall.

The cost of starting up and shutting down a coal-fired generator can range between $50,000 and $150,000 for each start-up and restart times are long, taking up to 24 hours.

Whilst there is a significant cost to transitioning to renewable electricity generation and storage, the State Government has stated that the $3.8 billion investment in new renewable power infrastructure is expected to pay for itself by 2030-31 relative to increasing electricity subsidies payable under the status quo. 

What other sources of electricity generation does Synergy have?

The South West Interconnected System (SWIS) is Western Australia’s main electricity network, extending from Kalbarri in the north to Kalgoorlie in the east and Bremer Bay in the South, and serves more than 1.1 million households and businesses.

Within the SWIS, electricity demand has traditionally been met by a mix of generation sources including coal, gas, wind, and solar. 

In WA, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is responsible for managing the SWIS and ensuring there is sufficient generation to meet demand as well as operating the wholesale electricity market. The State Government, through Energy Policy WA, is currently reforming the wholesale electricity market, and is also updating its “Whole of System Plan” that will consider both the ideal mix of generation technologies and where generation sources are best located within the network.

Coal currently represents 19 per cent of the SWIS generation capacity mix, with renewable generation comprising 43 per cent of installed capacity, more than half of which is made up by residential rooftop solar.

Learn more about our electricity generation sources here.

What are the new renewable electricity generation sources that Synergy will build?

Synergy is planning for new wind farms to be constructed over the next seven years, along with more battery storage. 

The new wind assets will most likely be built in zones where the wind profile is best, subject to agreements with landowners and environmental approvals. Batteries are more likely to be located on Synergy land close to existing population centres and network infrastructure.

We are currently preparing plans to build these assets, which should mean hundreds of jobs for Western Australians for many years to come. 

Will Synergy be investing in hydrogen?

The State Government has considered the appropriate mix of technologies that can be deployed by 2030 at lowest cost. As hydrogen is an emerging technology, there is still significant analysis being undertaken. 

Synergy is investigating the feasibility of using hydrogen to power existing gas generation assets, and working with Water Corporation to assess the feasibility of a pumped hydro project to form part of the State’s energy system.

How does this contribute to Synergy’s sustainability commitments?

Synergy is proud to be Western Australia’s largest integrated electricity generator and energy retailer. Our purpose is clear – to lead Western Australians to their intelligent energy future. This intelligent energy future includes adopting environmentally sustainable practices across the business for future generations.

We have already reduced our carbon emissions by more than 50 per cent since 2005, but we know our customers want us to do more to produce cleaner and cost-efficient electricity. The State Government's recent announcement will see Synergy’s carbon emissions reduce by 80 per cent (from 2021 levels) by 2030.
 
The retirement of Muja and Collie coal-fired power stations will be a significant step in progressing the decarbonisation of our business and achieving our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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