Family First-backed independent candidate for the NSW Upper House, Lyle Shelton, says gas and coal must be urgently restored to electricity generation before the lights go out.

“If elected, I will push for every option from keeping Liddell open to urgently building the Bayswater2 power station to fast-tracking the Kurri Kurri gas peaking plant.

“I will also move for an urgent Parliamentary inquiry to audit New South Wales’ electricity generation capacity.”

Mr Shelton’s comments come following an alarming column in yesterday’s Australian by former Labor federal minister Jennie George.

“Ms George is right to point out that blackouts loom with April’s closure of the Liddell coal-fired power station in the Hunter Valley, taking with it 10 per cent of the state’s electricity supply.

“With the Kurri Kurri gas peaking plant delayed until the end of 2024, Ms George has warned ‘winter will be a testing time’.

“It is clear the state does not have enough supply because ‘energy’ minister Matt Kean is closing stations which produce baseload 24/7 electricity and not replacing it with like for like.

“Gas and coal must remain the mainstay of the energy grid until alternatives like nuclear are viable,” Mr Shelton said.

“Jennie George was right to point out that her party’s complicity with the Liberals’ run-down of coal and gas meant there was no parliamentary accountability for the drift to unreliable energy sources like wind and solar.

“This is why a parliamentary inquiry is urgent.

“Jennie George points out that Eraring, the largest coal-fired power station, is due to close in less than three years with nothing to replace its 25pc of generation capacity,” Mr Shelton said.

Ms George wrote: “Will the lights stay on after Eraring closes in August 2025? It’s an issue previously raised by the Australian Energy Market Operator”.

Mr Shelton said it was hard to believe warnings like this were being sounded in a first world country like Australia.

“The Liberal, Labor, Green, Teal quad is running the NSW electricity system into the ground.

“Only a strong cross bench in the Upper House can bring back common sense,” Mr Shelton said.