TRUenergy boss Richard McIndoe has today revealed that the Federal Government didn’t even discuss money in ‘contracts for closure’ negotiations with his company. TRUenergy owns the Yallourn Power station, and today revealed its contracts for closure proposal included options to close ¼, ½ and the whole of the 1480 MW Yallourn power station, but the Government didn’t put a dollar amount on the table.
The commitment to close 2000MW of brown coal power was a key plank of the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future package which was abandoned by the Gillard government last week.
The revelation, made on ABC radio comes despite Energy Minister Martin Ferguson claiming last week that the negotiations failed because parties could not agree on the monetary value of what compensation payments for closure should be.
Mr. McIndoe said today on ABC Gippsland:
“We didn’t really get to the point where there were negotiations to and fro about the actual number. I think that focus may have been with other generators”.
Energy Minister Ferguson claimed last week:
“The government is no longer pursuing contracts-for-closure negotiations. The negotiations…were pursued in good faith, but the government cannot be satisfied a value-for-money outcome can be achieved in terms of the objectives of the program, and I’ve said all along that there was no bottomless pit in terms of the amount of money available from the government’s perspective to actually buy-out electricity generation in terms of coal-fired power.”
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said today:
“This statement makes it clear that the Federal Government has abandoned this key plank of the carbon price package without seriously trying to get an outcome.
“The Energy Minister claimed that negotiations hadn’t provided value for money, but it’s impossible to assess value for money if you don’t even discuss money with one of the two large power stations tendering for closure.”
“You can’t buy a house without making an offer so how did the Government think it was going to secure power station closure without putting a dollar figure on the table in the negotiations?”
“Even if the government did discuss the finances with owners of other power stations like Hazelwood it would have been impossible to make a comparison or drive a negotiation if you weren’t properly engaged with all parties.
“It’s becoming clear that the government didn’t have any intention of making these negotiations work or delivering on this key part of their commitments.
“This raises serious questions about the credibility of the Gillard Government’s commitment to cleaning up our energy supply.
Environment Victoria is now calling for the Federal Government to withdraw the $5.5 billion in compensation payments the government is giving to these same generators to keep operating.
“If the government isn’t prepared to pay these power stations to close, they certainly shouldn’t be paying the same power stations $5.5 billion to keep polluting. It’s a complete waste of taxpayer money and is actually undermining the carbon price and our clean energy future.”
For further comment:
Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director Environment Victoria 0439 700 501