Hazelwood power station, which accounts for almost a quarter of Victoria’s power supply, is likely to close as soon as March next year, according to reports.
According to multiple sources, Hazelwood’s French owner, Engie, is preparing to announce the closure of the coal burning power plant, which provides roughly 22% of Victoria’s electricity. Engie has said no decision has yet been made, but the writing appears to be on the wall.
Coal-burning power companies are facing increased competition from gas and renewable power producers. On top of this, Hazelwood is a particularly carbon-intensive power plant, based in a state which has committed to having no net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Victorian environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio said this week the state is working on a plan to ensure the local economy in the Latrobe Valley survives the potential loss of around 1000 direct and indirect roles, in the event of a closure.
“I think we can say that some decision will be coming down,” D’Ambrosio said, according to the ABC, “whether that’s for a partial closure or indeed a full closure of the Hazelwood plant.
“The fact is, through the Premier’s stewardship, we’ve been working very diligently on a package of assistance for the valley … one that is focused on the great capabilities that exist in the people of the valley and their surrounding community.”
Led by Premier Daniel Andrews, the state government’s Jobs and Investment Panel met in Gippsland on September 2.
Andrews said a $40 million economic package included in the 2016/17 Victorian Budget would help assist businesses, improve skills and deliver new jobs to the region.
“The Latrobe Valley is a proud community and we certainly believe that its best days lie ahead of it,” the premier said. “With a government on its side, the Valley has a strong future.”