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Energy giant Alinta flags early coal shutdown in Victoria

By the early 2030s, Mr Dimery said coal-fired energy assets in general would “really struggle to be around”.

“That’s just me using my crystal ball and gut feel, having been around for 20 years,” he said. “But I think they’re the time frames we are dealing with.”

The prospect of an early closure of Loy Yang B continues the trend of private companies bringing forward the closure dates of ageing coal-fired power plants despite the federal Coalition government’s insistence that coal is crucial to ensure ongoing reliable and cheap electricity.

Asked to expand on Mr Dimery’s comments on Monday, an Alinta Energy spokesman sought to downplay the prediction, saying the company was confident Loy Yang B would outlast older and less efficient generators in the area.

“Loy Yang B is the youngest and most efficient brown coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley and we have no plans to vary its expected closure date,” he said.

“The declining cost of renewables and storage is already challenging any coal-fired generator that isn’t generating efficiently or reliably, and that trend will continue.”

The spokesman said Alinta had recently spent $170 million to upgrade its reliability and efficiency.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio declined to weigh in, saying it was a “matter for Alinta”.

Environment Victoria campaigns manager Nick Aberle said burning coal was the largest source of climate pollution in the state with Loy Yang B producing almost 10 per cent of Victoria’s carbon dioxide emissions.

“Pretending that coal power will exist much after 2030 only serves to delay the construction of the renewable energy and storage that will inevitably replace it,” he said. “The sooner we start building the replacement clean energy solutions, the smoother the transition beyond coal will be.”

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