A six-year extension to the Yallourn mine in the Latrobe Valley has been approved by the Victorian Government, allowing coal to be mined and supplied to its adjacent power station until its scheduled closure in 2032.
EnergyAustralia Executive, Mark Collette, said the extension provides certainty for employees and the local community. The decision secures the immediate ongoing operation of the plant and supports planning for its orderly retirement.
The Yallourn power station and mine employ around 500 people and provide around 20 per cent of Victoria’s energy supply. On the 10 days when demand was at its highest over summer 2017/18, the plant had 98 per cent availability.
“The Yallourn power station and mine have a proud, decades-long history of providing Victorian families and businesses with reliable and affordable power,” Mr Collette said.
“While Australia is making the transition to a modern, cleaner energy system the plant still has a role to play providing stability as more wind and solar power is integrated into the grid.
“An extension of the mine’s extraction licence provides certainty, supports ongoing investment in our operations and helps us plan for Yallourn’s orderly retirement.”
Mr Collette said EnergyAustralia would continue progressive rehabilitation of the Yallourn mine, including earthworks to create a lake and surrounding grasslands for use by the community.
At the same time, EnergyAustralia would fulfil its commitment to the Latrobe Valley Worker Transfer Scheme and would support the transition of the Yallourn workforce to new opportunities.
While policy and market settings may impact EnergyAustralia’s approach, the company said it would provide five years’ notice of Yallourn’s closure.
“We recognise that Yallourn will retire at some point in the future and we plan on giving our customers and our community five years’ notice so they have enough time to absorb this change as smoothly as possible. But for now, our immediate plan is to continue to invest in Yallourn and our people for so long as the plant is needed, to provide base-load, affordable electricity supply for our customers,” Mr Collette said.