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Vic's Hazelwood power station to close, French media says


Source, The Guardian, 24 October 2016

French utility Engie has decided to close down Victoria’s coal-fired Hazelwood power station – Australia’s most polluting – at a meeting between the board and executives last week, according to a report in the French newspaper Les Echos.

However the company told Guardian Australia that no decision had been taken so far regarding the future of the plant.

If the closure does go ahead, it would need the approval of Japan’s Mitsui & Co Ltd, which owns 28% of the plant.

Trevor Rowe, a spokesperson from Engie, told Guardian Australia on Monday that no decision regarding the future of Hazelwood was imminent.

He dismissed the reports of a closure as “another burst of speculation”.
“There has been so much speculation and rumours over the last 12 months to two years,” he said.  “We’re used to it.”

Engie and Mitsui would be legally required to dismantle the plant and rehabilitate the site if it closes, a task which has previously been estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Les Echos reported that several sources claim the sum would be closer to €1bn (AU$1.43bn).

Environmental organisations say the plant – which has a generating capacity of 1.5 gigawatts, accounting for 5.4% of Australia’s electricity supplies – is one of the most polluting power stations in the world.

Engie’s chief executive, Isabelle Kocher, told a French senate committee in May that the utility planned a gradual withdrawal from coal-fired power generation and that it would look at either selling or closing Hazelwood.

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