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Hazelwood to close

Published by , Digital Assistant Editor
World Coal,

ENGIE in Australia has announced that its Hazelwood power generation business in the Latrobe Valley will close at the end of March next year.

Chief Executive of ENGIE in Australia, Mr Alex Keisser, said the 1600 MW Hazelwood power station had been operating in a difficult national energy market environment for a considerable period.

“Hazelwood is now more than 50 years old. It has been a wonderful contributor to the National Electricity Market but we have now reached the point where it is no longer economic to operate,” Mr Keisser said.

“ENGIE in Australia would need to invest many hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure viable and, most importantly, continued safe operation. Given current and forecast market conditions, that level of investment cannot be justified.

“Over the past few years a range of options have been investigated for the business, including revamping existing infrastructure, repowering with gas-fired gas turbines or biomass or reducing the number of operating units. “None of these options has proven to be economically viable and as a result, the extremely difficult decision has now been taken to close all eight generating units by 31 March next year.”

Mr Keisser said ENGIE in Australia was committed to fully supporting employees as it prepares for the closure of the Hazelwood business.

This will include up to 130 ENGIE employees and between 110 and 130 subcontractor employees in 2017/2018. The number of employees and subcontractors required as of 2019 will depend on the mine rehabilitation scope of work.

Departing ENGIE employees will receive all their entitlements, including a redundancy package. They will also have access to a range of support services.

“I understand this is a very difficult time for our people who have worked so hard over the years to produce up to 25% of Victoria’s electricity needs. All Hazelwood employees, past and present, are to be congratulated on their contribution to the production of the competitive, reliable electricity which has underpinned the Victorian economy for more than 50 years,” Mr Keisser said.

“We also appreciate that this decision will have a significant impact on the Morwell and broader Latrobe Valley communities and we will work with regulators, unions and the local community to ensure an orderly closure, including rehabilitation of the mine and remediation of the power station site.”

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