A Labor MP has backed calls for the federal government to intervene to help close and replace Australia’s ”dirtiest” power station, the Hazelwood coal-fired plant in the Latrobe Valley.
Kelvin Thomson, the member for Wills in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, praised a report that suggests the Hazelwood plant could be replaced by 2012 at a cost of about $320 million a year.
In a speech to Parliament, Mr Thomson said there was a case for the Commonwealth and Victorian governments to help negotiate an early close with the plant’s owners, International Power.
It comes as some government MPs push for a major revamp of climate change policy before the federal election, in a bid to regain support lost when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said carbon trading would be delayed until at least 2013.
The report, commissioned by Environment Victoria, estimates shutting Hazelwood would cut Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 12 per cent, and national emissions by 3 per cent.
Mr Thomson said a similar cut would be needed each year for Australia to meet the government’s promised 60 per cent emissions reduction below 2000 levels by 2050, and play its role in keeping global temperatures within 2 degrees of pre-industrial levels.
”I urge the federal and Victoria governments, and federal and Victorian parliamentarians, to give [the report] the serious consideration that the global warming challenge requires of us all,” he said.
”I believe Australians are hungry for action to tackle carbon emissions.”
He said replacing Hazelwood, the country’s most greenhouse intensive plant, would both cut emissions and free up 27 billion litres of water each year.
Environment groups have named closing Hazelwood by 2012 as the main goal of a joint election-year campaign.
The Environment Victoria report found it could be replaced in two ways.
First, through a combination of large-scale gas-fired power and wind farms.
Or second, a mix of new, cleaner-energy plants and a major energy efficiency program.