Today marks the one year anniversary of the closure of Hazelwood power station, long known to be Australia’s dirtiest power station and one of the dirtiest in the world.
New analysis shows that Victoria’s electricity supply held up without Hazelwood through a hot summer and avoided over four million tonnes of CO2. The state also has a pipeline of clean energy projects to make the grid cleaner and more stable in coming years.
Since the closure announcement in November 2016, we’ve been a subjected to a frenzy of speculation about what would happen to our power supply, with a particular focus on whether we could make it through the summer without the lights going out.
At times, you could be forgiven for thinking there were some politicians and commentators who were actively cheering for blackouts.
To avoid operating in the evidence-free zone of climate deniers, Environment Victoria commissioned Green Energy Markets to analyse how Victoria’s electricity generation system handled the loss of an old 1600 MW power station.
In the final year of Hazelwood’s operation, Victoria exported over 5000 GWh of electricity, equivalent to around 60% of Hazelwood’s output.
Since the closure, Victoria’s remaining coal generators increased their output only slightly and wind power remained about the same. Output from gas power stations increased, offsetting part of Hazelwood’s production but also a 1000 GWh drop in hydro output.
Within Victoria’s borders, there was a 12 million tonne reduction in CO2 – the balance between losing Hazelwood’s 14 million tonnes against an additional million tonnes each from coal and gas generators respectively.