Chester backs call on power stations

Former federal resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson. File photo

Former federal resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson. File photo

GIPPSLAND MHR Darren Chester has endorsed calls by a former federal energy minister to extend the life of power stations to ensure Australia's energy supply.

Former minister Martin Ferguson told an audience in Canberra "we shouldn't simply accept Liddell closing like Hazelwood [power station] did."

Mr Ferguson also called for high efficiency, low emissions power stations to be considered as part of the nation's future energy mix.

"The comments were another dose of common sense and I hope Mr Ferguson's former Labor colleagues listening," Mr Chester said.

"People need affordable and reliable energy to power their households, businesses, schools and hospitals.

"The Latrobe Valley's three remaining power stations Yallourn, Loy Yang A and Loy Yang B are critical to the nation's energy security.

"As it stands, the Andrews Labor government can't guarantee Victorians will be able to keep the lights on in extreme weather this summer.

"To add to this, the loss of Hazelwood is already pushing up power bills.

"With many people in Gippsland already struggling to pay their power bills, losing another power station would only increase prices.

"We need the three remaining Latrobe Valley power stations to continue operating so the lights stay on, and power bills remains as affordable as possible."

Mr Chester said it was extremely frustrating Hazelwood Power Station was allowed to close.

"The Andrews Labor government did nothing to stop Hazelwood closing and has never had a plan to fill the gap in energy supply," Mr Chester said.

"We are all feeling the impacts of this."

"Hazelwood will be demolished. It is too far gone in the decommissioning process to be brought back to life.

"I still think there are opportunities to use the coal resource and I support efforts to build more baseload energy in the Latrobe Valley using the most efficient technology we have available."

Mr Ferguson's comments came as the Australian Energy Market Operator said the electricity market was struggling to provide a reliable supply as coal-fired power stations shut down.

Environment Victoria acting chief executive Dr Nicholas Aberle said the federal government's poor energy policies during the past five years, not the closure of coal-fired power stations, was causing the country's environmental problems.

Dr Aberle said the real problem identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator was that "anti-renewables politicians" had been putting the brakes on clean energy while "turning a blind eye "to the fact that coal power stations need to close".

Gippsland Senior
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