Hazelwood closure equates to the average cost of upgrading to an energy efficient light globe.
Our member Andrea Bunting had a letter published in the Age last week (December 15) which brought some perspective to all the debate about how much the closure of Hazelwood would mean to the regular person.
The figure of $78 per year, on average, added to household electricity bills, has been bandied about.
Ms Bunting points out this is about the saving you get when she upgraded a bulb in a security light from incandescent to a more energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulb, or switching of appliances around the house at the power point when not used.
We naturally tweeted her excellent letter to give it broader coverage. Often what we need in discussions of this type is a sense of perspective and relate it to day by day experience.
Her letter was followed up and inspired an article in RenewEconomy which pointed out that the Federal Government Reduce Your Energy Bills website highlighted some savings far in excess of $78, indeed, it argues a household of four might save up to $825 per annum if they are able to make these savings:
Getting rid of the second fridge, if you’ve got one, could save around $172 a year.
Switching off the game console after use could save up to $193 a year.
Using the clothesline once a week instead of using the dryer could save around $79 a year.
Installing a water-efficient showerhead could save you up to $380 a year on energy and water.
Hazelwood has long been on the cards for closure. In 1992 the SECV announced that Hazelwood would retire in 2005. It is a dirty, heavily polluting, power station that has operated well beyond it’s expected end of life. The decision for closure wasn’t made by the Victorian or Federal Government, but by the owners: the French company Engie and minority shareholder Mitsui on economic grounds.
The real issue here is that succeeding governments (Federal and State) allowed the private market to make these important energy decisions instead of government regulation and phased closure incorporating just transition arrangements for workers and communities.
We still don’t have a national plan for the phased closure of all our ageing coal fired power stations. This must reflect poorly on the Federal Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg.
A good reason why we need a co-ordinated plan is so we can modernise the grid infrastructure and build the renewables to replace our ageing carbon intensive power stations for the provision of electricity to consumers, while not compromising energy security or inflating the cost of electricity.