WHAT a relief that our politicians finally understand they must deal with coal to solve the climate problem. So let us deal with it and replace 100 per cent of Hazelwood with clean energy. Hazelwood produces 16 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution a year – 3 per cent of the nation's emissions. Its replacement would be a nationally significant move.
The Brumby government indicates it has negotiated partial closure of Hazelwood with green groups. This is not true. Environment Victoria's research shows that 100 per cent of Hazelwood could be replaced as early as the end of 2012. Partial closure leaves three-quarters of Hazelwood's pollution ongoing. That is unacceptable.
We are about to enter a federal election campaign and Labor sorely lacks climate policy credentials. It should work with the state government to replace Hazelwood's generation. Hazelwood's owners are willing to negotiate an early closure, so what is stopping us?
THE state government's plan to close a quarter of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station, replacing part of the lost generating capacity with gas (The Age, 10/7) barely earns it the palest shade of green credentials.
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First, gas is neither a renewable source of energy nor free from carbon emissions. Secondly, as this country's most polluting power station, closing only a quarter of Hazelwood falls far short of what must be done to meaningfully tackle Victoria's carbon emissions. The technology and resources exist to replace Hazelwood with 100 per cent renewable energy. The time to act is now.
ONCE upon a time, a big, dirty dinosaur named Hazel chewed up coal, breathed out pollution and endangered the health and future of Victorians. Some people felt guilty because they believed they were dependent on her for electricity. Many Victorians knew this was not true and were shocked to see Hazel's life unnecessarily prolonged by the Bracks government. Since then there has been more evidence of the damage that Hazel and other coal-munching power stations do, and also that we can meet our needs with clean, renewable energy.
Now Victorians are muttering about how baseload, solar-thermal plants operate in other countries and realise we do not need Hazel. We do not need to swap one dirty fossil fuel for another by using gas and pussyfoot around by replacing only a quarter of her contribution over four years.
If the Brumby government wants to win back voters who wonder why it has no effective climate policy, it should close Hazel. Victorians deserve a proper replacement with cutting-edge, renewable-energy alternatives, not another half-hearted and compromised Labor deal.