Protest to target Hazelwood

Issue 

On October 10, climate activists will converge on the Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe Valley in eastern Victoria. They will use mirrors to try to create Victoria's “first solar thermal power” station at the Hazelwood gate, to show solar is a viable alternative.

Shaun Murray from campaign group Switch off Hazelwood told Green Left Weekly: “Hazelwood is the most carbon-intensive power station in Australia relative to its output, and has been an ongoing target by climate campaigners.”

The date coincides with the International Day of Climate Action, 10/10/10. Protesters are calling for the urgent decommissioning of Hazelwood, demanding its capacity be replaced with renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures.

Murray said: “The [Victorian Labor] Brumby government has said it would only phase out one quarter of Hazelwood’s equivalent emissions — this is hardly the same thing. The best replacement is to follow the Beyond Zero Emissions’ [Zero Carbon Australia] plan for a solar thermal plant in Mildura — ideally with manufacturing facilities in the [Latrobe] valley to replace jobs.”

Protesters will also call for a “just transition” away from coal for workers in the industry. A just transition would mean such workers were guaranteed “green jobs”, through the development of renewable energy and energy-efficiency manufacturing facilities.

“This could include manufacturing of energy-efficient products, such as solar hot water heaters”, Murray said.

The October 10 action is endorsed by groups such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Beyond Zero Emissions, Monash Student Union and several climate action groups.

[For more information, visit www.switchoffhazelwood.org.]