The Clean Energy Council has expressed its disappointment at the NSW Government granting approval for the 660MW Hunter Power Project in the state’s Hunter Valley.

The $600 million gas-fired power plant project in Kurri Kurri, approximately 35km northwest of Newcastle, is expected to create 600 direct jobs and 1200 indirect jobs during its construction, but has faced fierce objections from climate scientists, energy experts and the community.

Leading the voice of disapproval is the Clean Energy Council, which says the greenlighting of the project – to be run by Australian energy company Snowy Hydro – undermines Australia’s efforts to deliver lower-cost power, reduce emissions, and build a reliable energy system.

“A utility-scale battery for this site was the smarter choice both economically and environmentally,” says Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton.

“The Clean Energy Council’s paper, Battery Storage: The New, Clean Peaker, outlines that batteries are cheaper than open-cycle gas turbine plants – such as what is planned for Kurri Kurri – for providing electricity peaking services.

“The Kurri Kurri plant is only expected to run for about one week of every year. When battery storage can deliver a cost saving of 30 per cent while delivering greater flexibility and significantly reducing emissions intensity, it makes no sense to be spending taxpayer dollars on this fossil fuel project.

“It sends the wrong message to clean energy investors and communities during a time when the International Energy Agency says that there is no space for new fossil fuel developments if the world is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.”