Monday, 12 December 2016

Senate inquiry recommends orderly retirement of all Australian coal-fired power stations

On 13 October 2016, the Australian Senate referred the following matter to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and interim report by 28 November 2016 and final report by 1 February 2017.

The Committee recommended the orderly retirement of all twenty-four operating black/brown coal-fired power stations which currently make up est. 77 per cent of the national energy market and, are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in this country.

To date nine other coal-fired power stations have been decommissioned.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) argued that coal fired generators impose significant external costs to human health, the environment, and public infrastructure, which typically falls disproportionately on coal-dependent communities. The ACF noted that estimated costs of health damages associated with coal combustion for electricity in Australia amount to $2.6 billion per annum……

According to the Climate Action Tracker, to meet the federal government's Paris targets, emissions must fall 1.9 per cent annually on average. Instead, they are rising about 1.2 per cent a year. This is a clear indication that current climate policy is failing to achieve required pollution reduction……

Inquiry into retirement of coal fired power stations, Interim Report:

List of recommendations

Recommendation 1
5.10 The committee recommends that the Australian Government adopt a comprehensive energy transition plan, including reform of the National Electricity Market rules.

Recommendation 2
5.11 The committee recommends that the Australian Government, in consultation with industry, community, union and other stakeholders, develop a mechanism for the orderly retirement of coal fired power stations to be presented to the COAG Energy Council.

Recommendation 3
5.12 The committee recommends that the Australian Government, through representation on the COAG Energy Council, put in place a pollution reduction objective consistent with Australia's obligations under the Paris Agreement in the National Electricity Objectives.

Recommendation 4
5.13 The committee recommends that the Australian Government establish an energy transition authority with sufficient powers and resources to plan and coordinate the transition in the energy sector, including a Just Transition for workers and communities.

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