Senate inquiry calls for coal power station retirement plan
The Final Report of the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee inquiry into the retirement of coal fired power stations has called on the government to adopt a national energy transition plan and a mechanism for the orderly retirement of coal fired power stations. The report says an energy transition authority should also be established to manage the transition for workers and communities surrounding coal fired power station.
The nine recommendations also include stronger assessment and controls on the health impact of burning coal, proper rehabilitation bonds and changes to market rules, and an extended Renewable Energy Target to drive new energy into the electricity system as coal fired power stations close. The report also calls on the government to rule out public funding of new coal fired power stations.
“While Chairing this inquiry I heard coal communities, workers, unions, and local governments united in their in a call for the development of a transition plan for the inevitable closure of coal-fired power stations; a plan that guarantees them a future” Committee Chair, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said.
“No-one was in doubt a transition was inevitable, nor were they in doubt it would be painful if politicians didn't show leadership on this issue and deliver a plan with some much-needed certainty.
“The Inquiry Report reflects the community desires around what they want to see in a transition plan. If other political parties are unable to sign on to such a plan then they just aren’t listening. The Greens want a transition plan, and are prepared to work with all political parties to achieve a just transition and dignity for coal communities.
“The Committee heard that to implement the Paris climate change agreement, Australia needs to close the equivalent of a Hazelwood a year but the government has no plan to manage this process,” climate and energy spokesperson Adam Bandt MP said.
“The lack of a clear, government-led process to retire coal-fired power stations is fuelling the crisis in the energy system.”
“The Committee report highlights the impact of the government’s war on renewables, which is undermining investment in the new generation needed when old power stations retire.”
The Committee received 139 submissions from energy companies, unions, climate and environment groups and community representatives and held 4 public hearings.
Peter Whish Wilson: Tim Beshara, 0409 164 603
Adam Bandt: Gideon Reisner, 0429 109 054