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Coal station closures inevitable, start planning: Labor and Greens

Adam Morton reports in the Brisbane Times (28.11.16) on the deliberations of a Senate inquiry into the retirement of coal-fired power stations, and how the federal and state governments are being encouraged to speed preparations for a manageable transition to cleaner energy sources.

‘Many of Australia’s coal-fired power stations will shut in coming years no matter what the government does, but a national plan will be needed to ensure the lights stay on and price rises are limited while they are replaced with cleaner models, Labor and the Greens say.

A Senate inquiry into the retirement of coal plants heard that many energy companies, unions, community and environment groups agreed closures were inevitable and want the federal government to introduce policies to help manage the shift.

‘Businesses making this case included AGL, the owner of the most coal-fired power generation capacity in the country.

‘The Greens-Labor dominated interim committee report says: “The question is not if coal fired power stations will close, but how quickly and orderly these closures will occur and what supporting policies if any will be in place to help manage the process”.

‘… The report says the closure of coal generation is being driven by the age of the plants – a quarter are at least 40-years-old – and Australia’s commitment under the Paris climate deal to cut carbon dioxide emissions.’

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