Media Releases | 26th May, 2016

Urgent need for Engie and Victorian government to work together on Hazelwood closure

 26 May 2016

Following reports overnight that Engie, the French multinational that owns Hazelwood, is considering the future of Australia’s dirtiest power station, a clear plan and timeframes for closure of the aging plant are urgently needed, said Environment Victoria this morning.

New Engie CEO Isabelle Kocher told a French Senate committee on Wednesday that they were looking at possible closure of Hazelwood, or sale “if the state of Victoria tells us that it cannot meet power generating needs without this plant”.

Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Nicholas Aberle said today:

“We have a Victorian government that is committed to being a leader on climate change, and who is about to release plans to transition our electricity supply from coal to renewable energy. Engie, under its new CEO, is also committed to moving its global fleet from coal to renewables.

“It is time for the Andrews Government and Engie to now work together on a timetable for the phase-out of Hazelwood which reduces our climate pollution, delivers good rehabilitation outcomes and supports workers and the Latrobe Valley community to diversify the local economy.

“Victoria currently has an over-supplied electricity market. The Australian Energy Market Operator estimates we have 2000 MW more generating capacity than we need. Hazelwood is 1600 MW. The incumbent coal-burning power stations are blocking investment in renewable energy in Victoria. It’s time they started making way so that Victoria can benefit from the jobs and investment that will come with new renewable energy projects.

“Burning brown coal is 50 percent of Victoria’s climate pollution, and we urgently need to cut this pollution if we’re going to avoid the worst of global warming.

“The Andrews Government provided $40 million in its recent state budget to start diversifying the Latrobe Valley economy. The transition from coal to renewable energy is inevitable, but we need to speed it up, at the same time as looking after the workers and communities who have been so important to powering the state,” said Dr Aberle.

In an interview that aired on French television this week, French Minister for Energy and Climate, Segolene Royal, indicated that Engie should close rather than sell its coal plants as it moves to renewable energy. The French Government is the largest shareholder of Engie, owning 33 percent of the company.

For interview and further comment:

Dr Nicholas Aberle, Safe Climate Campaign Manager,
Office: (03) 9341 8112, Mob: 0402 512 121