I’ve often wondered, what are the symtoms of “coal-fired energy addiction” and how do addicts tell the difference between coal-fired and electricity otherwise generated? Do these addicts like, plug themselves into a power outlet or something? Is the voltage important? So many questions for the curious mind to ponder…
HRL’s proposed brown coal-gas hybrid plant in the La Trobe Valley in Victoria was last year limited in size to 300 megawatts by a Victorian Environmental Protection Agency decision. A challenge to this ruling was upheld by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) in late March which would allow HRL to build a 600 megawatt (MW) plant on the basis that it was ‘best-practice’.
HRL last month announced that it had frozen design and pre-construction work because the decision to allow the size increase was linked to the Federal government’s ‘contract for closure’ approach which is part of their Clean Energy Future Policy. The ‘contract for closure’ approach commits the government to closing the most emissions-intensive plants worth some 2000 MWs by 2020.
The linking of the VCAT decision to this Federal government policy has created too much uncertainty for the plant to go ahead for now. Private funding for the plant is conditional on government grants – a promised $100 million from the Federal government and $50 million from the Victorian State government – and these grants now require the completion of negotiations to close or reduce the scale of higher emitting coal-fired power plants such as Hazelwood, which is also in the La Trobe valley.