The Conservation Council of WA has congratulated the WA State Government on its decision to close the remaining Collie coal fired power stations by 2029.
The Muja and Collie sites have been subject to a long-term ‘just transition plan’, set out by the McGowan government, with the intention of reducing the town’s dependence on the fossil fuel industry. Government ministers have highlighted the ‘continued uptake’ of cheaper and cleaner renewable energy – including solar – as the reason behind the closure.
This week, Energy Minister, Bill Johnson, told the West Australian: “The amount of rooftop solar coming online in WA is currently roughly the equivalent of adding a new coal-fired generation unit to the system every year.
“These are issues the State Government is committed to addressing as we plan for the future of our electricity system.
“We are currently considering options to address these issues, with a focus on a renewable future.”
The closure of the remaining Collie fossil fuel facilities is a welcome step in bringing WA’s ongoing emissions crisis under control. The state’s emissions greenhouse gas emissions have risen substantially since 2005 – by 21 per cent – making WA the only Australian state to have seen an increase in emissions during that time period.
Also welcome is the announcement of a $3.8 billion investment over ten years to increase renewable energy capacity, boost electricity generation and build battery storage. This will create thousands of new jobs and economic opportunities for regional Western Australia through renewable energy schemes. CCWA has called for the implementation of similar initiatives for many years.
CCWA Executive Director, Maggie Wood, said that a careful and well managed move away from fossil fuels - and towards renewable energy - was in the interests of all West Australians.
“Decarbonising our energy production is of vital importance in driving down our emissions and preventing irreversible damage to our climate and environment.
“It would have been irresponsible and unsustainable to artificially extend the life of the Collie facilities and this is the correct move by the state government – not only for environmental reasons, but in committing to a managed transition for workers in the fossil fuel industry.
“Renewables are actively displacing fossil fuel generation by virtue of the clean, low-cost energy they produce. Fossil fuels simply cannot compete.”
The ‘Just Transition for Collie’, announced by the WA State Government in 2020, is a framework to support existing workers in the transition away from coal, with an emphasis on investment in the town to support low emission, technological jobs, maintaining employment opportunities.
The framework will also ensure a “comprehensive information, opportunity and choice to retrain/upskill or take an alternative pathway within a reasonable timeframe.”
“The 2029 deadline set by the state government, by which time both the Collie and Muja sites will close, allows ample time to provide support to those effected by the closures and we warmly welcome this”, said Maggie Wood.
“The plan is reminiscent of that set out for native forest logging industry, which made comprehensive resources available for workers to retrain and upskill into new and sustainable employment.”
MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost non-profit, non-government conservation organisation representing more than 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia.
CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please contact Robert Davies on 08 9420 7291 or by email, [email protected]