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Coal power-plant closure debate needed

The Greens welcome a new study by ANU economists outlining an option for closing coal fire-power stations in Australia.

The paper soon to be published in the journal of Economic Analysis and Policy outlines a proposed new market mechanism for the early regulated closure of highly polluting power stations.

This is a good contribution to the debate over how to deal with the legacy of highly polluting coal-fired power stations, such as Victoria’s Hazelwood, that are excess to the capacity and must be shut down.

Currently we have the perverse situation that despite the excess capacity in the power grid, market forces mean the oldest and the dirtiest power stations are also the cheapest to run.

This means that as clean energy investment grows, without government intervention, the dirtiest power stations could still be the last to close and are a barrier to further investment in clean energy.

The urgency of global warming and the need to make space for investment in clean energy requires the government to intervene to overcome the current market failures that keep these stations open. The ANU study is one option of how to do it.

The Greens will launch a new energy policy including our approach to the problem of coal-fired power station closure on Sunday in Melbourne. For more information on the launch, visit www.renewaustralia.org.au.

 Adam Bandt MP, The Greens energy spokesperson


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