AGL rejects PM’s plea to extend life of coal plant

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked AGL to extend the life of its Liddell Power Station by five years.

The call follows the release of AEMO’s 2017 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) yesterday, which showed Australia has a heightened risk of involuntary load shedding within the next decade as a result of closing generation sources.

According to the modelling, New South Wales and Victoria could see a heightened risk of significant unserved energy (USE) when the Liddell Power Station closes in 2022.

The PM said the closure of the power station would leave a “very big hole” and has asked AGL to extend its life to 2027.

“There are obviously other options but one option clearly, that I responsibly as Prime Minister have to explore, is keeping Liddell going,” Mr Turnbull told media yesterday.

The PM said he had spoken to AGL chief executive officer Andy Vesey about selling the coal-fired power station to a responsible party.

“AGL has committed to the closure of the Liddell Power Station in 2022, which is the end of its operating life,” AGL said in a statement today.

“AGL provided this advance notice in April 2015 to avoid the volatility created by the sudden exit from the National Electricity Market (NEM) of other coal-fired power stations.”

The company said it would engage with governments, regulators and other stakeholders to deliver appropriate outcomes, but noted no commitments had been made to sell the Liddell Power Station nor to extend its life beyond 2022.

Earlier this year, AGL announced plans to get out of coal by 2050.