Environment Victoria expressed disappointment today that the Federal Government has failed to meet its deadline for negotiations to secure a deal to close our most polluting power stations.
The Federal Government’s Contracts for Closure program is a key plank of the carbon price package. It aims to secure the closure of around 2000 MW of Australia’s most polluting power stations. The owners of 5 power stations, including 2 large ones- Hazelwood and Yallourn- and 3 small ones- Energy Brix, Playford and Collinsville are currently negotiating with the Federal Government. Negotiations were supposed to conclude by June 30.
Environment Victoria’s Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said today:
“It’s disappointing that we’re not going to have an announcement today about which power stations will be retired via the contracts for closure process. Contracts for closure is a key element of the carbon price package that the Gillard Government has promised to deliver.”
“Negotations cannot be allowed to drag on for months. Communities like the Latrobe Valley need certainty around closure dates and we need to start allocating the $200m transition funding to establish new jobs and industries.
“The Federal Government needs to fully deliver on its commitment to retire around 2000 MW of polluting power. This is the only significant plank of the clean energy future package agreed to by the ALP, Greens and Independents that the Government is yet to deliver.”
“However pushing back the deadline by a few weeks is less important than delivering the full package which will require retirement of one large and two small power stations.”
“We welcome today’s admission by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) that demand for electricity is falling. This finding will be very inconvenient for generators negotiating contracts for closure. Falling demand, leading to falling wholesale electricity prices, means the Federal Government should be able to secure the closure of power stations like Hazelwood more cheaply than anticipated.”
“Our polling tells us that there is very high public support for replacing polluting power stations like Hazelwood. At the moment many in the community can only see the pain of the carbon price, and are yet to see the gain. Replacing our oldest and dirtiest power stations will be a real demonstration of the way in which the clean energy future package is beginning to clean up our energy supply.”
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham 0439 700 501 or 03 9341 8127