Saturday, 27 October 2012

Power pollution plunges
18 Oct 2012

THE carbon tax has helped to drive a sharp fall in the emissions intensity of Australia's power generation as coal-fired stations are closed, moth-balled or sell less electricity.

As Victoria's Yallourn brown coal-fired power station became the latest to announce a production cut, experts said falling demand for electricity, more renewables such as wind farms and solar, and the carbon price were all pushing Australia's coal-fired stations out of the market, making generation cleaner.

Electricity sold into the east coast market in the three months since the tax was introduced created on average 7.6% less CO₂ for each MW of power, an analysis of figures compiled by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows.

Compared with the same three months last year, the decline in emissions was about 6.3%, after seasonal differences are ironed out. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet talked up the role of the $23 a-tonne carbon price in the shift. ''It is significant that the emissions intensity of the electricity generation system has fallen in the first quarter of the carbon price,'' he said.

Hazelwood power station outside Morwell in Victoria. ''It is also significant that,.. about 3000 MWs of high-polluting electricity generation has closed or phased down. ''The carbon price is a key driver of these changes, although it is not the only factor at work.''

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