Power giant tells Victoria to close brown coal generators

Victoria should consider setting emissions or age limits on power plants as a way to progressively shut down the state’s brown
coal generators, power giant Origin Energy has told the Andrews Government.

Origin told a review of state climate change laws while it would prefer programs to cut electricity emissions to be national, unique
circumstances prevail in Victoria because it is so reliant on brown coal.

The four brown-coal power stations operating in the Latrobe Valley are the most greenhouse-gas intensive in Australia. Phasing out brown coal power would, “deliver the biggest impact on reducing emissions in Victoria and Australia”, the Origin submission said, as
reported by The Age.

“Standards are currently being implemented in North America, with the United States basing theirs on intensity and Canada on age. Either policy could be applied in Victoria.”

The submission comes amid growing calls from major power players for some kind of government intervention to encourage the closure of old plants and address the excess of power generation in the national market, which has squeezed the profits of many big electricity producers.

AGL has previously said governments should consider regulations to drive the closure of older coal-fired power plants and emissions standards for new generators.

Origin does not own brown-coal power stations, and the gas and black-coal generators it does operate would likely be financially better off with their closure. While some small power plants have recently been mothballed or closed around the country, Origin said the large
Victorian generators are still running at high capacity because of a number of factors, such as the low cost of existing local brown coal reserves.

“Without policy intervention of some sort, this situation is not expected to change for a number of years. From a greenhouse gas perspective this is a perverse situation,” the submission said.