NSW opposition leader has criticised the federal government for pressuring energy provider AGL to keep open or divest its ageing Liddell power station.
Government pressure to keep the ageing coal fired Liddell power station open is a by-product of the "culture war," according to NSW Labor leader Luke Foley, not sound economic management.
Mr Foley criticised supposed free-market cheerleaders who have pushed for government intervention in AGL's planned 2022 closure of its NSW power station.
"People who have argued for the operation of free markets for a very long time are now increasingly arguing for government intervention to distort market forces," Mr Foley told the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney on Tuesday.
"If a Labor government said that, we would be accused of communism."
The federal government has lobbied AGL to keep open or divest the Hunter Valley plant, arguing it would ensure no gap in power availability before Snowy Hydro 2.0 comes online in 2025.
AGL have resisted the push to extend the life of Liddell, choosing rather to replace the capacity lost to the coal powered plant with wind and solar farms.
But Mr Foley pointed out to his conservative opponents they should practice what they preach and observe market forces when making investment decision.
"How did a free market right move to such a position?" Mr Foley asked.
"It's nigh on impossible to see the private sector financing new coal generation capacity in this country."
Mr Foley said NSW would be better off encouraging new energy capacity from renewable sources, in addition to a gas fired peaking plant rather than "applying some bandaids to a clapped out Liddell".
"That argument to force Liddell to stay open by whatever means necessary that derives from a culture war, not any sound economic policy whatsoever."
"Go back to Tony 'coal is good for humanity'."