First it was the abandoning of the post-carbon tax floor price, and the integration with the European floating price (see here). Now it is the abandoning of the plan to close the “dirtiest” power stations. Clearing the decks for a snap election, possibly?
PLANS to replace heavily polluting coal-fired power stations with “cleaner” electricity are in turmoil and a new rift has opened between Labor and the Greens after the government scuttled a key plank of its carbon policy yesterday.
Energy Minister Martin Ferguson yesterday abandoned talks to pay for the closure of some coal power stations – including Australia’s dirtiest facility, Hazelwood in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley – saying there was a “material gap” between what the generators wanted and what the government was prepared to pay, particularly with forecasts for lower energy demand.
Mr Ferguson denied the government had ceased the talks because of last week’s decision to abandon a $15-a-tonne carbon floor price from 2015 and tie the emissions trading scheme to depressed European prices, despite claims by industry experts that the decision had “breathed new life” into the most polluting brown-coal power stations.
The failure of the talks has widened the divisions between Labor and the Greens over energy policy, forcing the government to defend its commitment to cutting greenhouse emissions after Greens leader Christine Milne accused Labor of a “breach of faith”.
Senator Milne said that putting Mr Ferguson in charge of the process was like “giving the fox control of the hen house”.
She vowed to push to bring forward a Productivity Commission review of billions of dollars of compensation for brown-coal generators. Last night Mr Ferguson said Senator Milne’s comments were “childish” and that her “simplistic” attack on the government “reflects more on her and her lack of understanding of the energy market”. (source – paywall)
Just another Labor train wreck to add to the already overfilled scrapyard.