Oz energy company AGL promises to decarbonise by 2050

Pledges closure of coal-fired plants without carbon capture

Australian energy generator AGL has published a new Greenhouse Gas Policy (PDF) in which outlines “a pathway to decarbonisation of its electricity generation by 2050.”

The policy means the generator will do the following:

  • Continue to provide the market with safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy options
  • Not build, finance or acquire new conventional coal-fired power stations in Australia (i.e. without carbon capture and storage)2.
  • Not extend the operating life of any of its existing coal-fired power stations
  • Close, by 2050, all existing coal-fired power stations in its portfolio
  • Improve the GHG efficiency of its operations, and those over which it has influence
  • Continue to invest in new renewable and near-zero emission technologies
  • Make available innovative and cost-effective solutions for its customers, such as distributed renewable generation, battery storage, and demand management solutions
  • Incorporate a forecast of future carbon pricing in to all generation capital expenditure decisions
  • Continue to be an advocate for effective long-term government policy to reduce Australia’s emissions in a manner that is consistent with the long term interests of consumers and investors.

CEO and managing director Andy Vesey said ““To support the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to work towards the two degree goal, companies such as AGL need to take the lead.”

Vesey also said “ It is important that government policy incentivise investment in lower-emitting technology while at the same time ensuring that older, less efficient and reliable power stations are removed from Australia’s energy mix.” That's a swing at Australia's government, which is currently arguing for a reduction in mandatory renewable energy targets.

AGL's a significant player in Australia's energy industries: it serves 3.8 million customers, has generation capacity of about 10,000 megawatts (17 per cent from renewables) and its name reflects its origins as the Australian Gaslight Company, formed in 1837.

For a company of this vintage and size to make a statement about decarbonisation is therefore very significant. It's worth noting, however, that the policy's aims don't signal the company will walk away from coal or gas, just make sure their CO2 emissions are captured. ®


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