Hazelwood

hazelwoodpowerstationatnight

Hazelwood coal power station is a monster of the La Trobe valley, where brown coal is mined from the ground to power Victorias energy and resource hungry industries. It is responsible for almost 5% of Australias carbon emissions.

Hazelwood has among the worst greenhouse pollution per kilowatt in the industrialised world.

The plant was due to close in 2009 due to age and its damage to the environment, but its life was cynically exteneded beyond 2030, when it may still be pouring carbon into the gasping lungs of a dying world.

With our governments resisting change and Hazelwoods corporate owners International Power and the Commonwealth Bank chasing only their own profits, our action against Hazelwood is intended to raise the questions: How do we end Victoria’s disastrous coal industry? How can we make decisions over our power sources and ultimately our environments? How can we help repair the La Trobe valley and create sustainable livelihoods for its people?

4 responses

6 11 2008
Bill Watson

Just a quick thought, how about some decent statistics to back up your views. Hazelwood produces 1600MW, Yallourn, ~1200MW and Loy Yang A/B 3500MW. Totalling nearly 6000MW. If these are closed down what would the replacement be. Wind turbines produce 3MW Max, only in high winds. They generally average less than 1, and what about those still days, it is impossible to store that much power, Not to mention the acerage needed. On top of that these turbines need to be constructed which is a much larger outlay of money. The only other power plants which prodce that type of electricity is nuclear. Rather than jumping on the bandwagon of stopping coal how about being productive and offering viable alternatives. I bet each protestor went home and turned their lights on and had a warm shower! As long as we have electricity we will need coal, or feel free to prove me wrong. Can we be a little more productive.

6 11 2008
whosepower

Hey Bill,

These are important points that you are making, and raise many questions.

It is true that renewable energy technologies need more work to be done improving them, though this does not prevent many from rolling out on a fairly large scale, despite receiving funding dwarfed by the subsidies granted to the fossil fuel industries. How will we get this work done exept by supporting them as they grow?

We acknowledge the possibility of failure in any purely technological solution to global warming, but this does not lead us to back to using coal. It only allows short term complacency and assures far greater problems later on (like an unlivable planet).

Our approach is based on questions : To prevent disasterous climate change, should we simply try and provide for our current way of life with new technologies? or would it also be wise to look at our lives, and our choices around the use of energy and resource? Is the growth based economy a viable or necessary system in the long-term? What are the alternatives?

Many of the solutions we arrive at from these questions, such as relocalisation, actually include a reduction in energy use per capita. The huge amounts of energy and resources available in this country over the last few decades are, by historical and global standards, very unusual. The result of this high energy lifestyle is the simultaneous depletion of resources and destruction of sinks for waste (like the forests and the atmosphere…) to the point where the whole system is failing. Is it realy likely that our high energy lifestyles can continue indefinitely?

Returning to alternative energy technologies, we do not claim that they are perfect or the only solution. But could they be useful in the transition to a society based on lower energy and consumption? Isn’t that what we are trying to do?

-By the way, none of us realy shower very often bill! But if we did, can’t the heat come from the sun?

8 11 2008
fox

i had a bath when i got home anyway.

12 11 2008
Ob

The alternative is decentralised renewable energy.

one of the biggest problems with traditional energy generation, especially in Victoria is the cost (both in $$ and efficiency). Most of Victoria’s energy is generated in the La Trobe Valley, then distributed to Melborne and the rest of the state. In contrast decentralised renewable energy based on Wind, Solar, Micro Hydro etc power can be installed closer to where the power will be used, thus saving MW and $$.

You couldn’t be more wrong saying ‘as long as we need energy, we need coal’ It is totally feasible to meed all of our needs without coal.

However, it is spot on to say ‘as long as we need a planet to live on, we need to stop burning fossil fuels’. Anyone saying that wind power is expensive or environmentally destructive is exploiting false alternatives. The choice is between decentralised renewable energy AND a living Earth, OR coal and a dead planet. Simple choice eh?

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