AGL brings forward closure of Loy Yang A and Bayswater

Bayswater Power Station (AGL closure)
Bayswater Power Station

AGL has announced it will bring forward the closure date of its two biggest coal-fired power plants by several years, responding to a market shift towards renewable sources of electricity.

The company, which will be demerged later this year, said it would accelerate the closure of its Bayswater power station in New South Wales to no later than 2033 from the previously scheduled 2035, while Loy Yang A plant in Victoria will now close by 2045 rather than 2048.

Related article: Report says AGL’s Bayswater plant rife with toxic risks

AGL’s Liddell plant in New South Wales also remains on track to close in April next year.

“Our aim, by transforming our business, is not only to better address our own climate related risks, but also to take a key leading role in enabling Australia’s energy transition, creating long-term value and sustainable investment opportunities as we do it,” AGL CEO Graeme Hunt said.

Federal energy minister Angus Taylor said the closure windows left “a considerable gap of close to 5000MW of reliable generation in the National Electricity Market”.

“While this announcement is a commercial decision and AGL has complied with the minimum three-and-a-half-year notice period, the exit of such a considerable amount of reliable generation is a concern for the continued reliability and affordability of the system,” Taylor said.

“Delivery of new, timely, replacement dispatchable capacity will be critical in keeping prices low and the lights on,” he said.

The Mining and Energy Union (MEU) has called on AGL to urgently meet with workers and union representatives to discuss the impact of fast-tracked closures of Bayswater and Loy Yang A power stations.

“Our energy generation industry is undergoing a major transformation. But it shouldn’t follow that the workers and communities who have supported and relied on the coal-fired power generation industry for decades should pay the price of decarbonisation,” MEU general president Tony Maher said.

“Central to closure plans must be measures to prevent forced redundancies, create job transfer opportunities for skilled workers and invest in diversification in the Hunter and Latrobe Valley regions.

Related article: AGL and Fortescue to turn coal plants into green hydrogen hub

“We have worked constructively with AGL on measures to support workers at Liddell power station, which is the next slated for closure.

“With the timelines outlined today by AGL for Bayswater and Loy Yang A, there is time to put comprehensive plans in place to support and reassure workers.”

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