The State’s peak environment group has strongly welcomed the announcement by WA Energy Minister Ben Wyatt that the Muja AB coal fired power station will be closed, while calling for a broader reform of WA’s energy market to phase out coal and expand renewable energy generation.
Conservation Council of WA Director Piers Verstegen said the decision is a very promising sign that after years of mismanagement of the WA energy market under the previous government, the incoming McGowan Government will get serious about dealing with the issues.
“Muja AB and its workers have helped keep the lights on for over fifty years and we thank them for that service, but now it is time to usher in the new era of cheap, job rich renewable energy.
“The Muja AB power station is the oldest and the most polluting per unit of output in Australia, and its closure will reduce carbon pollution, improve air quality, and save taxpayers money.
“The closure of Muja AB is the logical first step in the transformation of WA’s electricity system and we look forward to the next steps in this process.
“Thanks to the policies of the previous government, there is currently 40% more electricity generation capacity on the SWIIS grid than required at times of peak demand.
“Rather than reducing energy bills, this extra capacity is costing taxpayers and energy users dearly, while creating a barrier to new investment in the WA energy market by renewable energy providers.
“Muja is a start, but we need to see a lot more polluting coal-fired generation retired from the system.
“We encourage the Minister for Energy to work with the Collie community to implement a transition that supports the existing workforce to be re-deployed in new industries, including renewable energy generation.
“Modeling by independent energy experts Sustainable Energy Now shows that with the right planning, Collie is well positioned to benefit from the renewable energy revolution, which could yield more jobs for the region than the coal industry provides currently.”