Power stations on notice

The State Government has set an ambitious zero emissions target by 2050, suggesting a threat to Latrobe Valley power stations.

A series of five-yearly interim targets will be set to lead to an overall goal of achieving no net greenhouse emissions within 35 years, following recommendations of an independent review of the Climate Change Act.

Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham said the power sector was the easiest industry to cut emissions, with more work needed to decarbonise the transport sector.

Mr Wakeham said Victoria was looking at a renewable-powered state in the decades ahead if the State Government was serious about zero emission forms of electricity generation and was no closer to implementing carbon capture and storage.

“The timeframe is beyond closure dates for generators, the bigger question is how do we begin the process in an orderly way?” Mr Wakeham said.

“How quickly can we get a phase-out plan in place, but a transition plan that moves buckets of money into tangible outcomes on the ground?”

In a statement Premier Daniel Andrews said Victoria was leading the nation when it came to tackling climate change.

“Updating our laws and introducing a target to reduce emissions in Victoria will ensure we take advantage of the new jobs and economic opportunities created by renewable energy,” Mr Andrews said.

A spokesperson for Energy Australia, owner and operator of Yallourn Power Station, said it supported action on climate change while maintaining supply reliability.

“We will review the detail of the plan once it’s available and engage with the Government on how it intends to meet its net zero emissions reduction target,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for AGL Loy Yang said the company’s Greenhouse Gas Policy outlined its commitment to decarbonise by 2050.

“This commitment includes improving the greenhouse gas efficiency of our operations and working closely with the government, community and industry on transition plans for impacted regions including the Latrobe Valley,” the spokesperson said.

“We look forward to working with the Victorian Government on the development of the interim emission targets and subsequent renewable energy policy.”

ENGIE, the owner operator of Hazelwood Power Station, declined to comment.