Victoria’s Energy Mix 2009-2010 report was recently released by Environment Victoria (www.environmentvictoria.org.au) showing that little progress has been made to reduce Victoria’s reliance on polluting coal-fired electricity over the past decade. Our energy mix remains dangerously unbalanced. To make things worse the Victorian government (with the obvious support of the federal government) is now going to export 20 million tonnes of coal to Vietnam from the La Trobe Valley. So not only do we burn coal here to pollute our environment but now our coal will be used to produce greenhouse emissions in another country as well. Well done!
However, the report commissioned by Environment Victoria found that in 2009 coal-fired generation provided 91.5% of the state’s electricity, only slightly lower than the 93.3% coal provided in 2000. The report also found that in absolute terms, Victoria’s reliance on coal has increased over the past decade, with both electricity generation and greenhouse emissions increasing nearly by 10% since 2000! At the same time, energy from clean renewable source remain at just 5% (the same proportion as what it was in 2000), despite the Victorian Government’s Renewable Energy Target.
The state’s experience over the past decade shows that the only way we will be able to make real progress in reducing Victoria’s greenhouse pollution and dependence on brown coal is if we start replacing the large coal-fired power stations with clean energy; beginning with the dirtiest power station in Australia – Hazelwood power station.
As for selling coal to other countries; it just shows how serious our government is about reducing greenhouse emissions. In this sort of climate when the Australian community wants to see us reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and to set a good example to developing countries a decision to export coal is a worrying sign which path we are heading down on.
(Mostly reproduced from Environment Victoria’s Safe Climate Bulletin on 30th March 2010).