Media Releases | 30th Aug, 2013

Payday for dirtiest coal generators highlights folly of removing carbon price

30 August 2013
Environment Victoria has today warned that if an Abbott Government was successful in scrapping the carbon price, Australia’s dirtiest coal generators would be the largest beneficiaries.
The Federal Government is scheduled to give free carbon permits to Australia’s dirtiest power stations on Monday 2nd September. 
Environment Victoria’s analysis released today shows that Hazelwood Power station is set to receive the largest payment of $267.8 million worth of emissions permits, closely followed by Yallourn which will receive $259.3 million. In total permits worth over $1 billion will be issued on Monday. 
The permits can be sold back to the Federal Government any time from Monday 2nd September. It is likely that generators will seek to sell these free permits back to the government to ensure a cash benefit and avoid uncertainty regarding the value of permits under a potential Abbott government. 
Environment Victoria Safe Climate Campaign Manager Victoria McKenzie-McHarg said today:
“Compensating coal generators for the carbon price was always poor policy. However making billion dollar compensation payments and then removing the carbon price would be a public policy disaster.”
“Tony Abbott has repeatedly said that scrapping the carbon price will be the Coalition’s first order of business. If he is elected and successful in removing the carbon price coal generators will have received billions of dollars of compensation for loss of asset value, however their asset value will actually increase with the repeal of the carbon price. This would be a terrible outcome both for the environment and for taxpayers.
“Any climate policy that actually makes our most polluting power stations more profitable is not credible. This issue highlights that removing the carbon price is likely to be fraught with complexity, and extremely costly to taxpayers who’ll lose out three times over; they’ll foot the bill for compensation, lose carbon price revenue and then have to pay more again for emissions reduction under Tony Abbott’s plan. 
“We urge the Coalition to reconsider its plans to remove the carbon price which has been operating effectively to reduce emissions”.
Ms McKenzie-McHarg concluded by suggesting that the Coalition had targeted renewable energy program funding cuts but had been silent on next week’s compensation payments to the dirtiest power stations:
“Earlier this year the Coalition wrote to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and warned them they would not recognise any contracts signed for renewable energy projects after July 1 this year. Yesterday Joe Hockey said an Abbott Government would cut renewable energy funding available to ARENA. It is strange then that the Coalition has not opposed Monday’s billion dollar pay day for power stations like Hazelwood and Yallourn.”

For comment
Environment Victoria Safe Climate Campaign Manager, Victoria McKenzie-McHarg: 0428 480 409