Experts say Victoria's giant coal-fired power station, AGL Loy Yang, now has a limited future. (7.30: Matt Peacock)

Surprisingly, Australia’s largest coal mining and energy union, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is in support of the 50% renewable energy scheme by 2030, put forward by Labor Party.

Tony Maher, President of Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), supported Bill Shorten’s renewable energy scheme, on the condition that Labor government gives equitable support for thousands of workers in traditional coal-fired generators and mines who might be jobless.

“We’ve got to face the reality in domestic coal-fired power,” Mr Maher informed 7.30.

“The companies, led by AGL and Energy Australia, have announced that they will close their fleet by 2050, one by one. And they won’t be building other ones to replace them, so we have to deal with that.”

One of the areas which would be most affected by this scheme is the Latrobe Valley. It recently produces approximately 80% of the state’s energy.

Luke Van Der Meulen, president of the CFMEU’s Victorian mining division, who resides in Latrobe Valley, is very much worried about its future.

“Any change is going to impact on the Latrobe Valley community very hard, because we are a very big coal producer and generator for the Victorian community,” Mr Van Der Meulen stated.

The electricity sector agrees with Mr Van Der Meulen and has indicated that there will be massive changes.

“We’re going to see job losses in regional communities where power stations are reaching the end of their life,” stated Matthew Warren, Chief Executive of the Energy Supply Association of Australia.

Mr Maher said renewables are now “winning the investment race”. He knows that the change is coming and he has no choice than to support Bill Shorten’s goal.

“And the introduction of battery storage, cheap battery storage in homes is very attractive for consumers,” he said.

“They will vote with their feet and you would be a mug not to see that.”


Sustainable Solutions, July 28, 2015. Australian’s largest coal mining and energy union backs Labour Renewable Energy Target: Accessed July 30, 2015