Things are getting interesting for Victoria’s renewables industry in the lead-up to next week’s election, with the Greens today pledging to shut down some of the state’s dirtiest coal power plants if they manage to win the balance of power.
The promised scheme – which would see the phasing out of the Hazelwood and Anglesea coal-fired power stations and one of Yallourn’s four units as early as next year – follows a pledge from the state Labor Party to bin the Coalition’s wind farm planning restrictions and develop the state’s first 100 per cent renewable ‘solar town’.
The Victorian Greens’ plan, outlined on Thursday by the party’s Victorian leader Greg Barber, alongside Christine Milne, is that the
decommissioned coal power capacity would be replaced by solar, wind and other renewable sources.
Beyond the rapid shutdown of Hazelwood and Anglesea, the plan also aims to close Loy Yang B and the other three units of Yallourn in 2023.
According to the Greens, this would remove 21 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from Victoria every year from 2023 and reduce the pollution intensity of the state’s power system by 27 per cent.
It would also address the problem of excess capacity, says the party.
“Victoria has more energy than it needs and the average age of its power plants is a staggering 40 years old.
“We produce the dirtiest energy in Australia. But we don’t need so many brown coal electricity generators.”
As well, the Greens say their plan would produce jobs, in the rehabilitation of coal mines and decommissioning generators.
“Mine rehabilitation across the Latrobe Valley, according to Environment Victoria would create around 450 skilled and unskilled jobs for more than a decade and provide a billion-dollar economic stimulus to the region,” says the Greens’ policy plan.
“There is also the great opportunity to replicate what is already occurring in places like Nottingham in the UK, where massive solar farms are being built over the top of disused coal mines.
“Clean energy is not a threat but an employment opportunity for places like Anglesea and the LaTrobe Valley.”