An article by Latrobe Valley power worker Tony Wolfe appeared recently in the New Daily. Tony is on the board of the Gippsland Climate Action Network and a community adviser to the large offshore wind development the Star of the South. He is also a member of the Voices for Monash group who have chosen an Independent candidate, Deb Leonard, to contest the upcoming election.
Tony’s article was prompted by AGLs token forwarding date of closure for Loy Yang A from 2048 to 2045 and ran with the header “why an early end to coal-fired electricity is inevitable”. The coal-fired power stations have yet to grasp why they are part of the problem. On the inevitability of closure of the valley coal generators he noted “If [private operators] can’t make money from burning coal – they aren’t going to be producing it. Cheaper renewable energy will continue to force the phasing out of coal and gas, and we will see it happening sooner rather than later.”
He then makes an impassioned call for a just transition for the local community. “We need governments to support and accelerate the training and skill development of our existing workforce and accelerate the training and transition of skills to the new industries. The Latrobe Valley has an immense opportunity to be a renewable energy powerhouse, with good grid connections and major projects planned, like the Star of the South offshore wind farm I’m involved in.” And the “Latrobe Valley has got large, pre-existing connections to the electricity grid that can be used to put power in or draw power out for energy intensive industries. We also have a large skilled workforce which is very adaptable and we have the social license for heavy industry.”
This blog has been making appeals for a just transition, primarily in the valley but also in the forestry industry (see here and here) for many years. We support the efforts of Tony to bring on a just transition and think his estimate of generator closures much closer to the mark. His article is well worth a read and for those in the Monash electorate a primary vote for your Voices candidate may be a step in the right direction.