Media Releases | 29th Oct, 2004

Australia’s worst greenhouse gas polluter replaced within six years?

Friday, 29 October 2004

Victoria could phase out the country’s biggest greenhouse gas polluter and replace it with clean fuels by 2010, slashing the state’s electricity emissions by a quarter, a report into the state’s energy industry has found.

The report, Victoria’s Clean Energy Future, found Hazelwood power station in the La Trobe Valley could be replaced with a mix of gas and renewable energies within six years.

This switch would cut Victoria’s greenhouse pollution from electricity by a quarter without affecting economic growth, said the report, commissioned by WWF Australia and supported by an alliance of industry associations.

WWF Australia CEO, Greg Bourne, said the report sets out plans for energy conservation reforms and clean energy power plants, which would deliver the required power with just 3.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide compared to 17 million tonnes pumped out by Hazelwood annually.

“Hazelwood power station is this nation’s biggest single source of greenhouse gas pollution. Coal-fired plants like this are making global warming worse. Victoria’s climate will become drier with huge pressure on water supplies and endangered species,” Mr Bourne said.

“We must seize every opportunity to switch off the old, dirty plants and welcome in the next generation of cleaner energy – we now know we can replace Australia’s biggest greenhouse polluter by the end of the decade, increase jobs in the energy sector and save money through energy efficiencies,” he said.

Mr Bourne said the Victorian Government had taken some important steps to cut greenhouse emissions.

“Victoria’s 5-star energy efficient homes standard is expected to save 200,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses per annum within five years – just 4 days of Hazelwood’s operations would cancel that benefit,” he said.

Victoria’s Clean Energy Future recommends the same effort directed towards water savings should be directed towards energy savings.

Recommendations include:

  • expansion of building energy efficiency standards to address all government buildings and new renovations.
  • a massive roll-out of solar hot water units.
  • a similar roll-out of ‘smart meters’ which tell consumers about energy usage/prices combined with higher prices for electricity in peak periods.

Environment Victoria Executive Director, Marcus Godinho, said the best decision the Bracks Government could take would be to phase out Hazelwood and replace it with a mix of clean and green energies.

“Global warming is a real danger and there is no doubt that humans are responsible for our changing climate. It is crucial that future investment be directed into clean energy production rather than assets that contribute to our burgeoning greenhouse pollution,” Mr Godinho said.

Click here to download Victoria’s Clean Energy Future report