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‘This is a very big problem’: Energy minister says Victoria risks facing energy shortages in the near future

Australian energy provider AGL has today pushed back the closures of two coal-fired power plants, amid fears energy demand will outstrip supply in the next few years.

The closure of the Liddell Power plant in New South Wales has been pushed back from 2022 to 2023, while South Australia’s Torrens A power plant is now slated for closure in 2022.

Last financial year Victoria became a net importer of electricity from other states, relying on supply from NSW and SA to meet demand.

Federal energy minister Angus Taylor says there won’t be enough electricity to go around once the ageing interstate power plants close.

“This is a very big problem,” he told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

“If you go back a few years, Victoria had the lowest cost energy pretty much anywhere in the world… over recent years this has been trashed.”

Mr Taylor blamed the rising cost of electricity on the moratorium on gas development and the closure of Hazelwood power plant.

He said the closure of Hazelwood was “an absolute disaster, much worse than anyone had anticipated”.

Mr Taylor said there is no problem with incorporating wind and solar energy into the system, but relying on it solely is unsustainable.

“We’ve got a situation where the Victorian government is now proposing to push a lot more solar and wind into the system without turning that into reliable power,” he said.

“You have to have backups for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.”

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