The Greens have tried to use Upper House numbers to seek the power station’s closure, claiming it is a community risk and is no longer needed.
Shortly after sweeping to power in the November 2014 state election, the new government announced it would bring forward new rules forcing mine operators to develop fire management plans in the wake of last year’s Hazelwood mine fire which burned for 45 days, choking the town of Morwell in smoke and ash.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also confirmed last month that an inquiry into the fire would be reopened to investigate the reported spike in deaths and consider options for the mine’s rehabilitation.
Yet all this has failed to impress Greens MP Ellen Sandell, who cited the Australian Electricity Market Operator as saying there was up to 3100 megawatts of extra capacity in the grid.
“We have some of the best natural resources in the country,” she said on Friday.
“What we don’t have is a state government willing to stand up and transition from dirty coal to clean energy.
“Hazelwood is one of the dirtiest coal mines in the world. Labor have no plan and it’s incredibly disappointing that today in question time Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and the Labor government backflipped on former Premier [John] Brumby’s 2010 commitment to close parts of Hazelwood and transition to cleaner energy sources.”
Ironically, Hazelwood houses Australia’s biggest carbon capture and storage pilot plant to test the capture and storage carbon dioxide in a form available for future commercial applications.