Chinese company wants to buy Liddell power station

gas, AGL's Liddell Power Station
AGL's Liddell Power Station

A Chinese corporation that runs Australia’s largest cotton farm has expressed interest in purchasing AGL’s Liddell power station.

The retirement of the 1800MW power station in 2022 has been at the centre of debate in the country, as NSW faces a capacity shortfall.

According to The Australian, former rugby union star and Taurus Funds Management director Nick Farr-Jones penned a letter to the Prime Minister that said his client, Shandong Ruyi Group, was interested in purchasing the coal-fired power plant.

The letter states Shan­dong Ruyi, which controls the Cubbie Station cotton farm in southwest Queensland, wanted to invest in clean coal technology and enter the Australian energy market.

Mr Farr-Jones urged the government to consider the offer when discussing the future of the plant with AGL, who has refused to extend the life of the plant.

“Following the recent announcement by AGL that they intended to close the Liddell coal-fired power station in coming years, I thought I would drop you a quick note regarding a client of ours who would definitely be prepared to invest in latest-­technology, low-emission, coal-fired power,” Mr Farr-Jones wrote, according to The Australian.

“To that extent they would review the current Liddell plant with a view to extending the life of the plant to provide reliable, lower cost power to NSW. They would also look to invest in Queensland, particularly north Queensland.

“Around six months ago I met with the Treasurer (Minister Morrison) with the son-in-law of the president of Ruyi to make sure he was aware of Ruyi’s intentions to invest in the power sector in Australia.”

Last week, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) revealed an additional 850MW of dispatchable generation capacity would be needed after the closure of the power plant if AGL fails to follow through with its three-stage transition plan.

The plan proposes a mix of high-efficiency gas peakers, renewables, battery storage and demand response as well as the efficiency upgrade at Bayswater Power Station.