With Victoria currently relying on more than 80% of its electricity, supply from brown Coal (75%) and Gas (6.2%) the Minister for Energy has been questioned on what future Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (VRET) will mean for existing Latrobe Valley Power Stations.
The Member for Morwell has yesterday in question time queried the State Governments plan for the regions power stations given the Government pledged a VRET of 50 per cent by 2030, just before the 2018 Election, and what impacts there is likely to be on these same power stations from the adoption of this policy.
Mr Northe asked the Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio if any modelling had been undertaken to understand the different renewable and non-renewable energy sources and percentages of each of those sources that will be included and excluded from a 50% VRET in 2030.
“Whilst we understand that renewable energy generation is expanding, it’s also important to understand that fate of Latrobe Valley generators when a 50% VRET is applied. Given that more than 80% of Victoria’s current energy generation is by gas and coal, the logical conclusion is that power stations will be forced to close or coal fired generation capacity significantly decreased to achieve a 50% VRET target by 2030.’ Mr Northe said.
“If that is the case – then it’s a legitimate question to ask as to how this will occur, particularly when all existing Latrobe Valley Power Stations have licenses to operate beyond 2030” Mr Northe asked.
“If the Government is planning to further reduce generation capacity from Latrobe Valley Power Stations then it needs to articulate what its transition plan actually is?” said Mr Northe.
“What we do not want to see for the Latrobe Valley is another abrupt closure like Hazelwood, and the State Government needs to be upfront on what its plans are for workers, contractors, families and businesses within the Latrobe Valley,” Mr Northe said.
The outcome of Hazelwood closing has led to the loss of local jobs, electricity prices rising, security of supply in Victoria under threat, businesses being compensated to shut down their operations on hot days, and load shedding occurring which has led to communities having their power shut down for periods of time at peak times.
“Whilst I’m not opposed to the notion of a VRET, it is imperative that we are able to understand the associated modelling and any potential impacts, particularly on Latrobe Valley workers, contractors, families and businesses,” said Mr Northe.