Following the surprise announcement that Alinta will close its Port Augusta generators Environment Victoria has called on the Victorian government to urgently “plan for the orderly retirement of coal-fired power stations” in the Latrobe Valley.
Recently an accident at one of the Port Augusta power stations meant that the South Australian grid functioned quite well without any coal fired generation – operating on wind, solar and gas.
Environment Victoria Safe Climate campaigner Nick Aberle said: “With Alcoa also recently announcing the unexpected closure of its Anglesea Power Station, it is clear that the Victorian government needs to fast-track preparations for how and when other coal generators will shut down.
“The profits of coal power stations are being squeezed by increased energy efficiency, more clean renewable energy sources and their own increased maintenance costs for their aging assets.
“From a climate perspective, we welcome the closure of these highly polluting power stations…The Victorian government should develop plans for the orderly closure of power stations to ensure that adequate replacement jobs are in place to meet the closure timelines. The Latrobe Valley community is particularly vulnerable to unexpected closures and a clear plan will help Victorian coal workers avoid the same sudden fate as those in Port Augusta.
“Transition plans should provide certainty around when power stations will close, ensure full rehabilitation of the sites takes place, and provide a long-term strategy to diversify regional economies to non-polluting activities.”
A just transition requires that there is full employment in the Valley and that replacement industry and job opportunities are well established before any closures take place.