For many decades, Victoria has got its energy from burning brown coal. But coal is past its used-by date. It damages our climate and causes health and environmental problems.
It’s time to shift to the clean industries of the future, like wind power and solar. But we won’t see sufficient investment in clean, renewable energy until large coal-burning power stations are phased out.
The Andrews government has pledged to be a leader on climate change, and create jobs and investment in renewable energy. This means having a plan to start phasing out polluting coal power to make way for clean energy.
But the Victorian government can’t shift to 100 percent clean energy all on its own. Australia has a national electricity market so we need a national plan to phase out coal.
The Turnbull government must create a credible policy to cut climate pollution. The first step is a plan to phase out Australia’s oldest and dirtiest coal-burning power stations, starting here in Victoria.
And it must include support for the local communities around the power stations to create new industries and jobs.
Burning coal causes global warming. And it causes air pollution and health problems.
Without a government plan, these old power stations may close unexpectedly because of corporate decisions in other countries, which would cause the most disruption to the Latrobe Valley community.
In the coming months, the Andrews government will be making big decisions on climate change and energy. The Climate Change Framework is being developed and the state’s 2020 emissions reduction target is being set. The government is also due to release its response to the Environmental Protection Authority Review, the Renewable Energy Action Plan and a new Coal Policy for Victoria.
Through these processes, the Andrews government has a major opportunity to create a strong climate legacy for Victoria.
The government has repeatedly said it will make Victoria a leader on climate change. With half our carbon pollution coming from burning coal, a key plank in this leadership needs to be a plan to phase out our oldest and most polluting power stations, making way for new, clean energy.
The Andrews government needs to:
Get all the details in our Six Steps to Climate Leadership report.
Climate leadership is needed at the federal level as well. The Turnbull government has no credible plan to cut climate pollution and is leaving the urgent task of cleaning up our power supply to the market. This actively undermines state governments that are showing leadership by setting targets to cut pollution and build renewable energy.
A responsible government would have a plan to phase out polluting coal power stations and to support affected communities like the Latrobe Valley.
Tell the federal government to start planning for a clean energy future now.
Closing power stations will affect the community and economy of the Latrobe Valley.
Hazelwood and Yallourn power stations are very old. Now that Hazelwood’s owners have announced that it will be closed in March 2017, it’s a question of when, not if, other stations like Yallourn will close too. What is important now is that all stakeholders – the community, all levels of government, business groups and others – come up with a real plan to make the economic transition in the Latrobe Valley as smooth and fair as possible.
Global warming won’t stop to suit political timetables. Recent data shows we’re already in dangerous territory, with several months in 2016 hitting warming levels 1.3 degrees above the average – very close to the 1.5 degrees that is considered the maximum we can allow. There can be no delay.
Any government that wants to claim leadership on climate change can’t put this off until later. Our governments must address these problems now. They have the opportunity. It is time to act.
 Jordan Ward & Mick Power, “Cleaning up Victoria’s power sector: The full social cost of Hazelwood power station” (2015), Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
 Peter Hannam, “’True shocker’: February spike in global temperatures stuns scientists”, The Age, 14 March 2016.
Coal-burning power stations have lost their social licence to continue polluting our air and damaging our climate. It is time for investors, governments and communities to prepare for the transition away from coal power.
We need to retire old coal-burning power stations. But the mines attached to these power stations can leave behind a dangerous, dirty and highly-flammable mess.
Be part of the growing movement of Victorians ready to clean up our power.