The Federal Government has today offered $76.8 million in support to Alcoa’s aluminium smelter in Portland. This comes as the smelter’s existing Victorian State Government $200 million electricity subsidy is set to end in 2021.
Alcoa is Victoria’s biggest electricity user, consuming 10 per cent of the state’s electricity, predominantly powered by Victoria’s ageing coal power stations which are the least efficient coal power stations in Australia.
The Greens are calling on the Victorian Government to come clean with the public about whether they plan to extend Alcoa’s ~$200 million subsidy next year.
The Greens have proposed that instead of subsiding Alcoa’s use of coal energy, the State Government commit to a ‘green aluminium manufacturing plan’ which includes providing a grant to upgrade the plant so it can act as a reverse battery, similar to aluminium plants in Europe, and requiring that Alcoa be powered by renewable energy.
This plan would have the joint benefit of reducing emissions while keeping jobs at the smelter here in Victoria.
As stated by Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“For years, the Victorian Government has paid millions of dollars of taxpayer money to Alcoa, which is still a huge user of coal energy. The Victorian Government needs to come clean with Victorian taxpayers: will they give Alcoa even more millions next year to keep using coal power?
“Instead, the Andrews Labor Government should give Alcoa a grant to upgrade their plant so they can become a leader in green manufacturing, just like Germany is doing with their smelters.
“The Victorian Government has an opportunity now to save jobs at the smelter and put Victoria at the cutting edge of Australia’s green manufacturing future. Our aluminium smelter could be powered by renewable energy and act like a reverse battery – which is a win for jobs, for the Portland community and for the planet.”