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Fears major Victorian power station could close by 2025

The state government’s plan to increase renewable energy targets to 50 per cent by 2030 has spurred fears the closure of a major power station could be brought forward.

Yallourn Power Station, a brown coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley, provides 22 per cent of Victoria’s energy supply and employs 500 people.

It’s slated for closure in 2032, but there are new fears it could be closed in just six years, in a state government bid to slash carbon emissions.

EnergyAustralia, which owns the power station, is understood to have briefed workers on the possibility of an early closure.

Angus Taylor, Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, said the Victorian government needs to be clear about its energy plan.

“What we’ve seen from this Victorian government is a complete failure to recognise that if you’re going to rely more on renewables you’ve got to back it up,” he told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

“What’s crucial now is that the Andrews government immediately clarifies what its position is, to prevent uncertainty for all the people working at Yallourn and also for every household, small business and person working in industry in Victoria.”

Mr Taylor said closing Yallourn without a proper plan would drive up energy prices and cause supply issues.

“When the Victorian government pushed Hazelwood to shut we saw a sharp increase in prices for electricity driven by that. We also saw last summer that the outcome of that is a struggle to keep the lights on,” he said.

The federal government is expected to press the issue with the Andrews government.

“We’re going to push them very hard on this. If they want to close more coal-fired power stations prematurely they need to have a plan to deal with this. They haven’t in the past and the people of Victoria have paid for it,” Mr Taylor said.

Yallourn power station is one of the most unreliable power stations in the country.

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