Liddell power station

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Liddell power station is a retired power station in Muswellbrook, New South Wales, Australia.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Liddell power station Muswellbrook, New South Wales, Australia -32.3716, 150.9784 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

Loading map...

Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1: -32.3715996, 150.9784213
  • Unit 2: -32.3715996, 150.9784213
  • Unit 3: -32.3715996, 150.9784213
  • Unit 4: -32.3715996, 150.9784213

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 retired coal - bituminous 500 MW subcritical - -
Unit 2 retired coal - bituminous 500 MW subcritical - -
Unit 3 retired coal - bituminous 500 MW subcritical - -
Unit 4 retired coal - bituminous 500 MW subcritical - -

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner Parent
Unit 1 AGL Energy Ltd AGL Energy Ltd
Unit 2 AGL Energy Ltd AGL Energy Ltd
Unit 3 AGL Energy Ltd AGL Energy Ltd
Unit 4 AGL Energy Ltd AGL Energy Ltd


  • Source of financing:


The Liddell power station was commissioned between 1971 and 1973 and generates 2,000 megawatts from four 500MW generating units. Water is supplied from Lake Liddell. The power station consumes approximately 5.5 million tonnes of black coal per year.[1]


Liddell power station was owned by Macquarie Generation, a government-owned business which was established in 1996 and boasts that it is "Australia's largest electricity generator."[2] Macquarie Generation was acquired by AGL Energy in September 2014.[3]

High Costs of Keeping Plant Open

In November 2017, a report by the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures found that a clean energy package that includes battery storage, solar thermal and bioenergy would cost $2.2 billion, compared to $3.6 billion for a package to extend the life of the Liddell plant. The study also found that Clean Energy would have "would have a zero pollution outcome compared to 40 million tonnes of pollution by extending Liddell."[4]

In September 2017, then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Federal Government was trying to delay the closure of the plant beyond 2022 for at least five years.[5] In December 2017, AGL Energy rejected a plea by the Australian government to keep the plant open beyond its planned retirement date of 2022. AGL said that electricity from gas, wind and solar projects would be cheaper to produce.[6]

In May 2018 AGL rejected a $250 million offer from Alinta to buy the power station and possibly extend its operating date beyond 2022.[7]

In December 2020 the Australian government published a model showing that keeping Liddell open beyond its planned retirement in 2023 ranked as one of the worst options for maintaining stable power supplies in New South Wales, scoring poorly in categories such as providing flexible power supply and operating without interruptions.[8]

Plant Retirement

In August 2019, AGL announced that Unit 1 would be retired in 2022 as planned but that Units 2-4 would continue operating until April 2023.[9] In May 2021, AGL awarded a contract to Delta Group, an engineering contractor, to begin the first stage of closure, decommissioning and demolition planning for the power station.[10] Unit 3 was retired on Mar. 31, 2022.[11]

As of September 2022, AGL was on track to have the power station fully decommissioned by April 2023.[12]

On April 28, 2023, AGL announced that it had retired the last units of the power station. According to the announcement, AGL was planning to "repurpose the site into an industrial renewable energy hub, including plans to build a 500 MW grid-scale battery at the site."[13]

In the wake of the power station's closure, an energy market analyst reported that the electricity needs of NSW were met "with hydro generation and imports," but noted that looking forward into the future, "further development in renewable energy and batteries is important for the state." [14]

Environmental impact

In May 2018 it was reported that FOI documents obtained by Environmental Justice Australia reveal that a power station of Liddell's age would normally be subject to a NOx limit of 800 mg/m3, however AGL successfully applied to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for an increase to 1,500 mg/m3. "Just to put that into context, a power station in the United States would be required to keep emissions down to 100 mg/m3," said James Whelan of Environmental Justice Australia.[15]

Trevor St Baker plans for a new plant

In January 2019 Trevor St Baker told The Australian that he would submit a proposal to Australia's Minister for Energy, Angus Taylor, for government support from the Underwriting New Generation Investments program for three projects including a new A$2 billion 660 MW black coal plant in NSW's Hunter Valley at the Vales Point power station or alternatively at AGL's Liddell power station. The report claimed "St Baker has lined up a Chinese joint-venture partner" but did not name the company. St Baker said that financing the projects would not be sought from Australian banks but instead would rely solely on international lenders.[16]

However, even if the Liddell project wins federal government financial support it faces formidable hurdles. AGL have previously rejected federal government pressure to sell the site to other companies wanting to take over the Liddell plant and redevelop it.

Renewable energy hub to replace former power station

In the place of the retired coal-fired power station, AGL planned to construct "Hunter Energy Hub," which would utilize several (then unnamed) renewable energy sources along with a 500 MW "grid-scale battery." [17]

Proposed Sunset Power International Expansion

  • Sponsor: Sunset Power International
  • Parent company: Sunset Power International
  • Location: Muswellbrook, New South Wales, Australia
  • Coordinates: -32.3715996, 150.9784213 (exact)
  • Status: Proposed
  • Gross capacity: 660 MW
  • Type:
  • In service:
  • Coal type:
  • Coal source:
  • Source of financing:

Articles and Resources


  1. Macquarie Generation, "Liddell power station", Macquarie Generation website, accessed May 2011.
  2. Macquarie Generation, "Welcome", Macquarie Generation website, accessed May 2011.
  3. "AGL completes acquisition of Macquarie Generation assets", 2 September 2014
  4. Report suggests it's cheaper to close Liddell coal-fired power station,, 20 Nov 2017
  5. "Malcolm Turnbull in talks with AGL to keep Liddell coal power station operating beyond 2022," ABC, Sep 6, 2017
  6. Australia's AGL Energy ditches coal plant for gas, renewables, Reuters, 8 Dec 2017
  7. AGL rejects Alinta's bid for Liddell power plant, confirming its closure, The Guardian, May 20, 2018
  8. Michael Mazengarb, Liddell extension ‘one of the lowest ranked’ options, government modelling says, Renew Economy, Dec. 2, 2020
  9. AGL delays closure of Liddell power station to meet energy demand over summer The Guardian, Aug. 1, 2019
  10. Imogen Hartmann, Liddell Power Station decommissioning tender awarded, Utility Magazine, May 10, 2021
  11. Liddel power station closure, ABC, Apr. 1, 2022
  12. Australia's AGL fast-tracks coal power closure after investor pressure, Reuters, Sept. 28, 2022
  13. "AGL's Liddell Power Station closes after 52 years of operation," AGL, April 28, 2023
  14. "It’s the Liddell things that matter," PV Magazine, May 5, 2023
  15. Liddell coal plant emitting nitrogen oxide at three times rate of global standard, ABC, May 21, 2018
  16. Perry Williams, "Chinese in $6bn clean coal plan", The Australian, January 19, 2019.
  17. "Latest Coal Plant Closure Speeds Australia’s Renewables Push", EE Power, May 8, 2023.

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.