A study prepared by Green Energy Markets Pty Ltd for Environment Victoria has found Victoria’s greenhouse emissions from electricity have increased by 10% over the 10 years to 2009 – a total of 6 million tonnes.
The study states while renewable energy generation has made important inroads over the last few years, it still accounts for only 5% of Victoria’s generation in 2009, the same share of generation as in 2000. Even with the increased uptake of technologies such as wind and solar power in the state, renewable energy has historically comprised predominantly of hydro-electric plants, the contributions of which have been on the wane due to lower rainfall and reduced storages.
Wind energy is now the largest source of renewable energy accounting for 34% of renewable generation in 2009. The growth in wind energy has effectively replaced the decline in hydro energy.
While coal fired generation has reduced its overall market share of generation by 1% during the period, it remains a dominant force in electricity generation at 92% of total generation. The study states Victoria’s reliance on coal has increased over the past decade with 51,697GWh of electricity generated from coal in 2009, up by 9 percent on 2000 levels.
Coal comes in a variety of "flavours", some types being cleaner burning than others. The coal burned in Victoria's electricity generation plants is predominantly brown coal, the filthiest variety. According to a 2005 report from the WWF, the world's worst polluting coal fired power station at the time was the Hazelwood Power Station in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria.