AGL has knocked back a bid by Alinta Energy that would result in an ageing Liddell power station sale in a move that has infuriated coal-centric Coalition MPs.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is now calling for compulsory acquisition of the NSW coal-fired plant. He suggests this could be funded by taxpayers then offered to Alinta for purchase.
AGL has consistently refused to sell Liddell, which is due to close in December 2022. According to the AGL Board, Alinta’s bid undervalued the 50-year-old plant.
AGL determined to transition Liddell to new energy sources
The energy company plans to repurpose the Liddell site in line with its NSW generation plan. This means it will convert the plant to gas and other fuel sources.
According to AGL, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has endorsed this plan.
Labor MP slams Liberal ‘coal dinosaur factions’ for pursuit of Liddell power station sale
Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh told Sky News the sale of Liddell would have a negative effect on energy prices and carbon emissions.
He slammed pro-coal Tony Abbott and former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce calling them “coal dinosaur factions’”. Subsidising coal-fired power plants would waste taxpayer money he claimed.
Meanwhile, Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has asked AGL to guarantee that the closure of Liddell won’t cause a power shortfall.
According to the Federal Government, renewable energy sources cannot replace Liddell’s coal-fired generation capacity.
However, this contradicts data released by Green Energy Markets. The data showed that since the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood coal station last year, more energy has been produced from renewable sources than from brown coal or gas.
Coal-fired power station trails renewables
AGL is the largest ASX-listed investor in Australia’s renewable energy generation. Solar energy plays a major part in AGL’s green portfolio.
Green Energy Markets also found that wind, solar, bioenergy and hydro generated nearly 10,000 GWh of electricity during the 2017/18 summer. This is 8 per cent higher than brown coal and 40 per cent higher than gas generation.
The Tesla big battery in South Australia has also proved the importance of energy storage. It subsequently delivered 100 MW to the grid in record time when a major coal-fired plant failed in December 2017.
The big battery’s has boosted interest in other solar batteries, such as the Tesla Powerwall 2 for residential solar users.