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One of the world's dirtiest power plants, the coal-fired Hazelwood station in Australia, is to close in March of next year. The plant has been in operation since the 1960s, with environmentalists welcoming its demise.
Australia's dirty coal-fired Hazelwood power station in the La Trobe Valley near Melbourne and an adjoining mine in the state of Victoria would close in March 2017, the French company in charge of the station and the mine, Engie, announced Thursday.
Reports said some 500 people were set to lose their jobs, with another 250 remaining until 2023 to manage the decommissioning of the power station and rehabilitation of the mine site.
The 1,600-megawatt Hazelwood plant has been producing electricity by burning coal since the 1960s. It generates 5.4 percent of Australia's electricity supply and 25 percent for the state of Victoria while arguably being one of the most polluting power stations in the world.
Engie Australia's CEO Alex Keisser said the company had reached the point where it was no longer economic to operate. The announcement came as the firm sought to concentrate solely on low-carbon projects for power generation, renewable energy and natural gas.
Activist group Environment Victoria, which had protested against the Hazelwood plant for about a decade, said the decision to close it was "long overdue but still a good outcome."
It argued the closure would help decrease carbon emissions by 3 percent in Australia.
The country has one of the highest per capita emissions of carbon dioxide in the world. It depends on coal for more than two-thirds of its electricity needs.
hg/jd (dpa, AFP)