The Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications has delivered its Report on the Retirement of Coal Fired Power Stations. The Committee was tasked with inquiring into the economic, social and environmental impacts associated with the retirement of coal fired power plants. Further, it was to investigate viable policy mechanisms to encourage the retirement of coal fired power plants as a reflection of Australia’s international commitments and the uptake of renewable energy sources.
The Committee made a total of nine recommendations. The primary recommendation was that the Federal Government adopt a comprehensive energy transition plan. Further, a federal energy transition authority should be established to plan and co-ordinate the transition. Additionally recommendations included assessing the health impacts from coal fired power stations, conducting emissions audits from these power stations, and auditing rehabilitation costs for existing coal mines and power stations. The Committee recommended the COAG Energy Council as a key body in guiding the transition. Model renewable energy reverse auctions from the ACT and the NSW Load-Based Licensing scheme were given as examples of strategic transition mechanisms suitable for national adoption. The final two recommendations directly addressed the policies of the Federal Government, recommending no funding or subsidies should continue to be given to coal fired power stations, and an energy transition scheme, such as an Emissions Intensity Scheme, should be adopted.
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