Environment Victoria Turns Up The Heat On Hazelwood

Last month we reported on a study from Environment Victoria that states Hazelwood Power Station could be replaced with clean and renewable energy projects as soon as the end of 2012. Should that occur, the group says the replacement of the single coal-fired power facility would slash Victoria’s greenhouse gas pollution by 12 percent.
     
Environment Victoria says Hazewood power station also uses 27 billion litres of water each year – almost a month’s worth of Melbourne’s total water use. It’s also the single highest emitter of dioxins in the country.
     
The Victorian non-government environment group is seeking to mobilise all 5 million residents of the state to take a stand against Hazelwood via its site "ReplaceHazelwood".
     
The site offers a wide range of information on the issues surrounding Hazelwood and a feature where concerned citizens, whether from Victoria or elsewhere in Australia, can send a letter to the Labor and Coalition Party Leaders, calling on them to commit to Replace Hazelwood with clean energy by 2012. 
  
Also provided is a template for people wishing to write to their local MP, which states that closing Hazelwood is the key first action in tackling climate change that any government serious about the issue would take.
     
It seems the owners of the plant aren’t totally opposed to closing Hazelwood either. Environment Victoria says International Power recently indicated it would be prepared to close the power station with the right financial incentives, along with investment in new jobs and industries in the Latrobe Valley as part of the package.
    
Hazelwood was slated to be decommissioned in 2005, but the government decided to allow it to continue operations. However, efforts to make the plant more efficient and cleaner have met with some opposition. Environment Victoria reports a confidential submission accidentally released recently shows International Power  will "resist energy efficiency efforts because they could hit its bottom line".