EnergyAustralia has responded to media speculation that the Yallourn Power Station will be shut down early, stating it intends to run the plant to at least 2032 or for as long as policy and regulation will permit.
A recent report from AEMO was the catalyst for the speculation, which stated that EnergyAustralia would progressively shut down the power station from 2029 with an aim of full closure by 2032.
A media release from EnergyAustralia stated that “our plans are to run the plant to 2032 or for as long as policy and regulation permit, and there’s not a substantial change in the market.
“The Yallourn power station generates enough electricity every day to supply 2 million Australian homes. More than 500 people work at the plant and it spends millions of dollars every year with local businesses.
“Australia’s shrinking capacity to generate reliable energy has been a major cause of rising household power prices. Losing Yallourn’s electricity supply would, without careful planning, compound the problem and impact the local community.
“Yallourn has coal reserves to operate until 2032; then the plant will close, and the site will be rehabilitated. In fact, we’re already rehabilitating more ground than we disturb each year.
“From around 2032 we plan to start filling the Yallourn mine with water. Our final rehabilitation involves creating a lake with volume 90 times greater than Lake Narracan and three-and-a-half times Blue Rock Lake.”
The Yallourn Power Station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, commissioned in the 1970s, has nameplate generation capacity up to 1480MW, equivalent to about a fifth of the state’s electricity demand.
EnergyAustralia also acknowledged that Yallourn is one of the country’s highest emitting power plants.
“That’s why we’re investing in maintenance and upgrades to make the plant more efficient. For example, in 2015 we completed a major maintenance program at Yallourn which allowed the plant to produce power for another 100,000 homes without having to burn more coal.
“We’re working hard to make Yallourn more efficient.”
Over 500 people currently work at Yallourn, employing unit operators, tradespeople, apprentices and office workers. EnergyAustralia has promised its workers at least five years’ notice before closing Yallourn, as long as circumstances remain within its control.
“At the same time, we continue to talk to stakeholders, including our workers and the community, to support opportunities and plan for the transition already underway in the Latrobe Valley. And we’re investing to modernise Australia’s energy system with new, cleaner power generation.
“We’re talking to the state government, the local council and community groups about the transition and how it can be made as smooth as possible. While it’s early, we are clear about what we have to do – find ways to replace Yallourn’s capacity with cleaner power and create new jobs.”