Just days after Origin Energy announced it has sought approval from the Australian Energy Market Operator to bring forward the closure of its Eraring Power Station by seven years, from 2032 to 2025, NSW Minister for Energy and the Environment Matt Kean has announced a plan to deliver new jobs in renewables for the plant’s workers.

Minister Kean said $300 million would be invested over 10 years to deliver 500 jobs building hydrogen infrastructure, and create an additional 500 jobs in the construction of wind farms, batteries and other renewable technology.

In a “future industries” package worth almost $1 billion, the NSW Government has planned for the creation of an additional 2700 construction jobs through the fast-tracked delivery of transmission infrastructure required to connect new sources of generation to the energy grid.

On Thursday, 17 February, 2022, Origin Energy announced plans to accelerate its closure of the Eraring facility, located in the NSW Hunter Valley, which is the largest coal-fired power plant in Australia and employs approximately 400 people, including contractors.

It is the only coal plant owned by Origin Energy, and in the future the company will generate power from renewables and gas, including a proposed 700MW battery storage facility on the Eraring site.

“Origin’s proposed exit from coal-fired generation reflects the continuing, rapid transition of the National Energy Market as we move to cleaner sources of energy,” said Origin Energy chief executive Frank Calabria last week.

This announcement comes on the back of news from AGL, on 10 February, 2022, that it has accelerated the closure date of its two biggest coal-fired power plants – Bayswater power station in the NSW Hunter Valley, and Loy Yang A power station near Traralgon, in east Victoria – by several years.

Minister Kean said the closure of coal-fired plants creates opportunities for job creation in the low-carbon economy.

“NSW has some of the cheapest renewable energy in the world, which gives us a massive competitive advantage in producing clean fuels, chemicals and materials such as green steel, green ammonia and green hydrogen,” he said.

“Just as Tesla redefined the motor vehicle industry, I want NSW companies to pioneer new approaches to the energy transformation right across the economy.”