AGL joins Australia’s big coal exodus, experts and locals respond

29.09.22 By
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AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST POLLUTER, AGL, has today announced the early closure of the nation’s most emissions intensive power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, with the company planning to exit out of coal completely by 2035. 

Loy Yang A coal power station is set to close 10 years earlier than planned, by 2035, and AGL also confirmed its Bayswater coal facility in the Hunter Valley is on track for closure between 2030 and 2033.

Loy Yang A: 

The announcement comes a day after the Queensland Government unveiled its multi-billion dollar energy and jobs plan to shift the state away from coal power by 2035 and cash-in on its renewable energy and clean industry potential.  

Greg Bourne, Climate Councillor, energy expert and former President of BP Australasia said: “Coal is not a commercially viable industry any longer. This is a commercial and strategic decision made by AGL, and reflects the reality of the rapid move towards a 21st century power grid as well as 21st century economics.

“Coal is unable to compete on cost with renewable energy, it is also inflexible, ageing, unreliable and inefficient. In Australia, and globally, renewables backed by storage deliver the cheapest power, and do so without the greenhouse emissions coal and gas produce. To avoid the worsening impacts of climate change, it is critical that we move away from fossil fuels this decade.

“Today’s announcement is further proof that coal power station closures are going to happen sooner and more frequently than companies are currently formally committed to, and we need to take charge of the transition both to ensure all communities are supported through it, and that we know exactly what alternative, clean energy supplies we need and when. 

“Clean industries are already charging ahead in Gippsland, like Star of the South, which is set to become Australia’s first offshore wind farm. The project has the potential to supply 20 percent of the state’s energy needs and could create around 2,000 direct Victorian jobs. In fact, if all of Australia’s proposed offshore wind farms were built, their combined energy capacity would be greater than all of Australia’s coal-fired power stations.” 

Tony Wolfe, senior plant operator at one of the Loy Yang coal power stations in the Latrobe Valley, with more than 40 years experience, said: “If there was still any doubt within the workforce or community that we are getting out of coal, this proves we are. 

“Pressure will be on to bring this date forward even further so we need to embrace the multi-billion dollar renewable industry that’s coming our way so that we can retain our rightful place as an electricity generation hub. 

“Government can help here by setting up a National Transition Authority which includes directly impacted locals to ensure a smooth transition across all regions,” added Tony, who’s worked in the coal industry for over 40 years.

For interviews please contact Brianna Hudson on 0455 238 875 or Jemimah Taylor on 0478 924 425  

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