The Hazelwood coal-fired power plant in Victoria may be closed or may be sold by its French owner Engie as part of its initiative to move away from operating any coal-fired power plants according to The Guardian.
Isabelle Kocher, an Engie’s chief executive told a French senate committee that the utility planned a gradual withdrawal from using coal in powering their generators in the future and that following the plant sale announced earlier this year of two plants in India and Indonesia. The share of coal in its energy mix would go down to about 10% from 15%.
According to Kocher, they are studying all the possible scenarios for the Hazelwood plant, including sale or closure if the state of Victoria tells them that it can’t meet power-generating needs without the Hazelwood plant.
The plant has a generating capacity of 1.5 gigawatts, which accounts for 5.4% of Australia’s Electricity supply. A number of Environmental organisations say the plant is included as one of the most polluting power plants in the world. The plant runs using lignite coal from a nearby open-cut coal mine, which uncontrollably burned for weeks in early 2014. The Australian branch of Engie was charged in court last February for not providing a safe workplace and ensure public safety over the incident.
Dr. Nicholas Aberle, the Environment Victoria campaign manager said that it was time for the Victorian government and Engie to work together with a timetable for the Hazelwood plant phase-out.
Engie will also review its remaining coal plants one by one and close the ones with the most outdated technology. In recent months, Engie had already shut down the equivalent of 1.6gigawatts worth of coal-fired plants in Europe, specifically Britain and Belgium.
If the closure pushes through, there will less pollutants in the state and the country. Engie is refocusing their resources by trying to shift to renewable energy specifically biomass.