Hazelwood shutdown begins
Last-minute calls from locals, business leaders and even former prime minister Tony Abbott have failed to delay the closure of Australia's dirtiest power station, Hazelwood. French owners Engie will commence the process on Monday.
Workers will stop shovelling coal into three of the eight generating units on Monday and a further three on Tuesday, with the final two units due to be shut down on Wednesday.
Once the power station ceases operation, preparation will begin for decommissioning activities in both the mine and power station, for which Engie and its co-owner, Mitsui of Japan, have set aside $750 million.
The closure has been controversial, with some manufacturers and business groups slamming the state government for caving into the wishes of environmental groups and not offering an assistance package.
Fears are also mounting among households and businesses that energy prices will surge as a result of the closure, with wholesale prices already increasing dramatically since the plant's closure was confirmed in early November.
On Friday, just days ahead of the closure, the Australian Energy Market Operator said Hazelwood's closure would not compromise energy supply.
Last Wednesday hundreds of Morwell residents and business owners protested on the steps of State Parliament, calling on the government to keep the plant open for another four to six years.
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