No, it’s not going to be cheaper to keep them going than to build something else.
Because they WILL have to build something else anyway. The old coal stations are falling apart as it is. It’s just a matter of whether we spend the $ to build replacement capacity now, or spend the $ to build replacement capacity in a few years time after flushing a few hundred mill down the toilet trying to keep a bunch of juddering relics operational.
Seriously, read up on the Muja refurbishment. It gives you a really good example of what happens when you try to keep a zombie generator running.
Initially budgeted at $150 million and designed to be financed entirely by the private sector, the revival of Muja AB was beset by repeated blow-outs to its cost and time-frame. Its final cost was put at $310 million while it was delivered 18 months late after a corroded boiler exploded and the joint venture between Synergy and Geelong-based engineering firm Kempe went broke. Since being completed, Muja AB has also been plagued by operational and reliability problems, producing just 20 per cent of the time on average.
These half-century-old coal plants are DEAD. They just haven’t stopped twitching yet. Replacement is inevitable. Why throw good money at them?