Our Power: The Latrobe Valley, Hazelwood, And Our Energy Future

The Latrobe Valley is home to three brown coal mines and four power stations which have provided Victoria with over 80 per cent of its power, every day, for over 90 years.

The documentary Our Power traces the footsteps of the Latrobe Valley’s history, starting from the coal community’s birth in the 1920s to the establishment of the State Electricity Commission Victoria (SECV), while focussing on the effects of the privatisation in the 1990s, which severely demoralised the community’s pride in electricity production. Since 2014, the Latrobe Valley community has been sparked into action and are taking control of their health, community and future.

Green Agenda spoke with film director Peter Yacono about Our Power, the Hazelwood Mine Fire, and opportunities for a just energy transition for Australia.

Our Power is screening as part of the Transitions Film Festival. The screening is on Saturday the 2nd of March 2019, 2:15pm at Cinema Nova (380 Lygon St, Carlton, Melbourne). Tickets available here.

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What Would A Fair Energy Transition Look Like?

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced last week that a federal Labor government would create a Just Transition Authority to overseee Australia’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This echoes community calls for a “fast and fair” energy transition to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

But disruptive change is already here for Australia’s energy sector. 2018 has been a record year for large-scale solar and wind developments and rooftop solar. Renewable energy is now cheaper than new-build coal power generation – and some are saying renewables are now or soon will be cheaper than existing coal-fired power.

Based purely on the technical lifetime of existing power stations, the Australian market operator predicts that 70% of coal-fired generation capacity will be retired in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria by 2040. If renewables continue to fall in price, it could be much sooner.

We must now urgently decide what a “just” and “fair” transition looks like. There are many Australians currently working in the energy sector – particularly in coal mining – who risk being left behind by the clean energy revolution.

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