Victoria’s peak environmental group today expressed dismay at the State Government’s announcement of a new brown-coal fired power station in the Latrobe Valley. Environment Victoria Chief Executive Kelly O’Shanassy said the new coal-fired power station was an environmental disaster in the face of climate change. The new 400 MW power station will emit an extra 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year – the equivalent of 50 billion “black balloons”.
“Scientists have repeatedly told us that we need to urgently reduce greenhouse emissions to have any chance of avoiding runaway climate change,’’ Ms O’Shanassy said. “Yet the State Government is creating a massive rise in greenhouse emissions through this new power-station.
“The State Government has professed to care about climate change but when push comes to shove it is signing away Victoria’s future to a new polluting coal-fired power station’’.
Ms O’Shanassy said governments around the world are investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
“And this is what we should be doing here in Victoria,’’ she said. “Victorians have to ask themselves, is the Brumby government capable of urgently dealing with climate change?
“Victorian families, businesses and industry should be outraged by this. An extra 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year means that the task of reducing emissions for everyone else is that much harder”.
Ms O’Shanassy said that while it is reported that the new coal power station will be cleaner than Victoria’s existing coal-fired power stations, “it should be remembered that Victoria’s power stations are amongst the most polluting in the world and this new coal power station is not clean by any standards”.
The HRL power station is set to receive $150 million from Australian taxpayers, with $50 million of that from the Victorian Government.
Ms O’Shanassy said this money would be much better spent on energy efficiency and renewable energy which would totally avoid the need for a new coal-fired power station and would reduce, not increase, greenhouse emissions.
“The government’s own figures show that we could save far more energy than this power station will provide through proper energy efficiency measures, yet we have seen very little investment in that area. This decision is making a mockery of the efforts of all Victorians to reduce emissions”.