Member for Morwell Russell Northe has said yesterday’s announcement by the State Government that a 300 megawatt battery would be installed near Geelong by the 2021-22 summer period had been met with mixed views by the local community members.
Mr Northe said questions were being asked and disappointment expressed as to the cost and location of the battery, along with disenchantment with some of the Ministers comments and the accuracy thereof.
“Its understandable many Latrobe Valley residents are asking if our region was considered as a location for this project, particularly given the Government is regularly talking about the necessity for our community to transition towards renewable projects, yet it is prepared to spend $85 million for a battery that will provide power for 90 minutes in Geelong”, Mr Northe said.
“It’s ironic that the Government receives tens and tens of millions of dollars from Latrobe Valley power stations through coal royalties each and every single year, yet then it spends money on renewable energy projects in another region. Also, it seems the promised electric vehicle manufacturing plant for Morwell has seemingly been abandoned so this decision is even more curious given how vital jobs are in our local community” Mr Northe said.
“Post the closure of Hazelwood Power Station the Government had to bring in more than 100 diesel generators into the Latrobe Valley due to energy security of supply issues, so it just doesn’t make sense that their big battery backup is being constructed in Geelong” Mr Northe continued.
Mr Northe said the Ministers comments on electricity reliability had also agitated many locals.
“The Minister has continually criticised the reliability of Latrobe Valley generators that have served Victoria and other States so well for decades and I believe this type of commentary is not only unfair, but it is inaccurate. If the Minister wanted to line up the reliability of wind and solar against Latrobe Valley power stations 24/7 for 365 days a year then she would realise her comments are not only wrong but a slap in the face to every worker in the industry” Mr Northe said.
“These comments are divisive and personally I’m sick of the renewable verse non-renewable argument. More renewables are coming online and that’s a good thing, but I firmly believe Victoria will still need a mix of coal, gas and renewable energy for the foreseeable future. If we don’t then its likely prices will increase, jobs will be lost, and security of supply will be threatened and unfortunately our region will suffer the greatest losses” Mr Northe concluded.