The Victorian Government’s endorsement of the Mortlake gas-fired power station is a welcome step in tackling climate change, but should not replace support for renewable energy.
Environment Victoria has welcomed the Government assessment in favour of the $1 billion gas-fired power station in the state’s south-west which will produce up to 1000 megawatts of power, increasing Victoria’s electricity capacity by up to 12 per cent.
Environment Victoria’s Climate Change Campaign Director Tricia Phelan said gas was a far better option than greenhouse polluting brown coal, but it was not a silver bullet to fix climate change.
“Gas produces over 60 per cent less greenhouse pollution than brown coal, which currently provides most of Victoria’s power. This is a welcome step in the right direction as we make the much-needed transition from coal to renewable energy.’’
“But gas-powered electricity still adds to our already huge greenhouse pollution levels at a time when our leading scientists are calling for deep cuts in greenhouse pollution.’’
“The Victorian Government must set a target for a 20 per cent cut in greenhouse pollution by 2020 to tackle climate change head-on.’’
Ms Phelan said support for the gas-powered plan must not jeopardise the Bracks Government commitment to renewable energy.
“The Bracks Government showed national leadership at the last election when it supported setting a target to ensure 10 per cent of Victoria’s energy is produced from renewable energy by 2010.
“It must not falter on this target but instead continue to lead the community with a vision for a clean energy future.’’
Ms Phelan said with the increased gas fields identified in the south-west meant there was no reason to rely on greenhouse polluting coal for the proposed Alcoa aluminium smelter expansion.
“With gas companies falling over themselves to provide less-polluting energy – the Government can close dirty polluting power stations like Hazelwood and insist major projects such as the Alcoa expansion be powered by gas.’’
Ms Phelan said using our gas reserves – with efficient combined-cycle plants – in conjunction with strong renewable energy and greenhouse pollution reduction targets, was the responsible way forward for Victoria to address climate change.