Big news on the front page of The Age today, with the Brumby Government considering replacing one quarter of Hazelwood Power Station, Australia’s most polluting, with a mixture of fossil fuel gas, energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2014. Our campaign is succeeding in getting this issue on the agenda!
However, this current plan is nothing but a hollow attempt to appease the growing community concern over the support the Brumby and Gillard governments are giving to the coal industry and the increasing emissions from the Victorian coal sector, which are worsening the climate crisis. It is rumoured that one of the eight generator units at Hazelwood is broken down anyway, in which case only one unit would actually be replaced.
While the Brumby Government has finally recognised the problem, i.e. our reliance on dirty brown coal for energy, they have yet to come up with a real solution.
Allowing 75% of Hazelwood to continue to pollute indefinitely is not a solution. Replacing one polluting fossil fuel (coal), with another (gas) is also not a solution. The whole thing needs to be replaced with clean renewable energy and energy efficiency as part of a complete phased transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
This transition is possible with existing technology, and is affordable too – as long as the big polluter corporations aren’t allowed to rort taxpayers by getting massive “compensation” payouts as coal-fired power stations are replaced. We hope the Brumby and Gillard governments are able to do the right thing and spend money on compensation and training for laid-off workers, rather than wealthy shareholders, and on price support policies for renewable energy technologies.
So well done to all the people that have been writing letters, doorknocking, leafletting and spreading the word on the Replace Hazelwood campaign. We have gotten it on the political agenda in a big way! We need to keep going, making it clear that we won’t accept anything but the replacement of Hazelwood with clean, renewable energy.