New power station push

Latrobe City’s deputy mayor wants to see a new base-load power station built in the Valley as soon as possible, and he wants council to be the project’s lead advocate.

Cr Dale Harriman will move a motion tomorrow night calling on the State Government to facilitate construction of a new Valley power station.

He said last week he feared the state was running out of time to replace Victoria’s energy shortfall left behind when Hazelwood Power Station reached the end of its life; estimated to be some time between 2025 and 2030.

Cr Harriman said it could take up to 13 years to plan for and construct a 2000 megawatt station.

“We need to start planning for it now,” Cr Harriman said.

“I understand demand is dropping, but the population is growing.

“If Hazelwood goes offline, we’re going to have brownouts.”

Cr Harriman labelled various government plans over the past 15 years for the region’s prosperity as “half-baked, empty political promises”.

“Both sides of politics have failed the people of the Latrobe Valley in regard to looking at replacing current base-load power infrastructure,” he said.

“Our future prosperity can only continue if we continue to generate cheap, reliable power. There is no viable alternative on the horizon.”

Cr Harriman said although the construction and operation of a power station would be in the hands of private industry, the government needed to “go to industry first” in order to plan for the future.

He said he welcomed construction of “any sort of power station” including gas, biomass and brown coal.

“Let’s look at all technologies to look at what’s going to produce the best price for consumers,” he said.

If Cr Harriman’s motion gains support, council would write to Premier Denis Napthine and opposition leader Daniel Andrews asking them to publicly state their position on a new power station and detail their plans to achieve operation to meet future market demand.

It would call on the Federal Government to clarify its position on its ‘direct action plan’ funding and how it related to the Valley and would engage a “specialist public affairs resource” to keep pressure on politicians.

The council would also approach key power industry stakeholders to seek in-principle support for a new power station, along with neighbouring councils Wellington and Baw Baw shires.