Hazelwood Power Station protest

Today’s protest rally at Hazelwood Power Station is based on simplistic and misleading claims and ignores the reality that without viable electricity generators, Victoria will be unable to fund the investments needed to further reduce carbon emissions from the state’s power sector.

There will be little if any investment in the technology critical to reducing power station emissions if Victoria’s existing generators are rendered financially incapable to invest as a result of business disruption or poor public policy.

Similarly, simply shutting down the state’s brown coal power stations – the preferred outcome of today’s protest - is not the answer. It would result in a major shock to the state’s economy and would decimate the Latrobe Valley.

Hazelwood alone supports 900 jobs, supplies up to 25 per cent of Victoria’s electricity needs and, along with other Latrobe Valley generators, contributes some $800 million annually to the regional economy.

Victoria’s brown coal-fired power stations account for over 90 per cent of the state’s energy needs. This low-cost and reliable form of base-load electricity generation has underpinned the development of the state as Australia’s manufacturing heartland.

It will continue to do so for some time to come as there are currently no commercially-viable alternative or low-emission technologies capable of delivering this base-load power generation at comparable prices.

The Hazelwood power station has been making significant efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Since 1996, the power station has reduced its CO2 intensity by 10 per cent, representing a saving of more than 16 million tonnes of CO2.

The power station has also invested more than $800 million on environmental and thermal efficiency improvements, including replacement of turbines, rotors and boilers.

It would be of more benefit to the state and the environment if today’s protestors were working with the power industry rather than taking aggressive action to shut it down.

 

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