Hazelwood 2.0: early Yallourn closure to see power prices spiral

According to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO’s) Integrated System Plan 2020, released this week, Yallourn Power Station could close as soon as 2028, due to Labor’s Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET).

In June 2019, Yallourn Power Station operator EnergyAustralia outlined a plan to run the plant through until 2032, stating that losing Yallourn’s electricity supply would, without careful planning, compound the problem of rising household power prices.

Yallourn provides 22 per cent of all of Victoria’s electricity needs, employing over 500 people, and spending up to $300 million annually on Victorian goods and services. 

This comes after the closure of Hazelwood Power station in March 2017, which Daniel Andrews taxed out of existence. He promised a modest 4 per cent power bill rise as a result, yet Victorian households saw those bills rise by over 20 per cent.

According to AEMO’s Quarterly Energy Dynamics, in the first quarter of 2017, before Hazelwood closed, the average wholesale price of a kilowatt-hour of energy was $79.4, the lowest of any State.

Immediately after Hazelwood’s closure, it rose to $104.9, a staggering surge of 32.1 per cent. 

Labor refuses to tell Victorians what the impacts of the VRET will be, and refuses to guarantee that Victorians will not see similar price hikes should Yallourn close prematurely.

But, while Daniel Andrews has been silent, AEMO noted that these price rises are likely to occur with the closure of Yallourn, stating in their report:

“[T]here is a material risk that the assumed new generation capacity will not be in place before the scheduled retirement of Yallourn, leading to increases in consumer bills and a loss of resilience in the system.”

Higher bills and more blackouts – that’s the future under Labor.

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