A new report released by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) backs the construction of brown coal-fired plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.
In the report, Securing energy, jobs and Australia’s export advantage, the MCA said a new plant needs to be built in order to address a “looming gap” in baseload generation following the closure of the Hazelwood power station in March.
Another 8000MW if baseload power is expected to be retired before 2030.
“Australia has lost its low energy cost advantage as power prices have moved from some of the lowest to some of the highest in the developed world,” the report said.
“There is a need to start building new baseload power stations.
“The issue is not whether it should be coal or gas, but what would deliver the best economic outcome of delivering reliable energy while improving Australia’s international competitiveness.
“Given the current gas market challenges in eastern Australia, the Latrobe Valley offers a good option.
“Not only is the fuel source – brown coal – readily available, there is an existing and underutilised power network system in place.”
The report focuses on the latest German brown coal power generation technology that delivers power at emissions levels 25 per cent lower than the current power stations in the Latrobe Valley.
“The latest proposed power station, currently in the license approval phase, offers even better performance: 35 to 40 per cent lower emissions compared to the best generators in the Latrobe Valley like Loy Yang A and flexible operations critical for integrating higher levels of renewables and storage,” the report said.
MCA said in a statement that there had been strong local support for a new low-emissions brown coal power station in the Latrobe Valley.
“The local community recognises that a major new investment would assist in addressing the economic, employment and social challenges confronting the region,” the statement said.
The report urges the Victorian and federal governments to investigate the construction of a brown coal power station in the state.