This is Yallourn, one of a handful of coal fired power stations in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, east of Melbourne. Yallourn is just one of 26 coal fired power plants in Australia. The Latrobe valley is significant as the centre of Victoria’s energy industry, specifically for the mining and burning of lignite (brown coal)to produce electricity. The area produces approximately 85% of the electricity for the entire state of Victoria.
I happened to be in the region and the day was coming to a close. It was drizzling, nearing dusk, atmospheric light: a rare gift for a photographer. I turned off the main road, parked the car and ran across this deserted car park knowing full well it would not be long until I would be reprimanded and moved on by security. Having just levelled my tripod, attached the camera, mounted a lens, focused and loaded a dark-slide, a guard did arrive. Luckily I was able to stall her while I proceeded the take this 2 minute exposure.
Coal fired power plants are the biggest source of man made CO2 emissions, contributing an estimated 38% globally. This makes coal energy the single greatest threat facing our climate. The World Coal Association declares that coal fired power plants currently fuel 42% of global electricity. Apart from climate change, coal also causes irreversible damage to the environment, people’s health and communities around the world.
I both love and hate these things. I love them because they make such great subjects to photograph and they help provide us our modern comforts; powering my Mac and my home stereo. I hate them because they are irreparably changing the world’s climate and the world as we know it.