Energy hub plan is in place


AGL has promised to accelerate its plans to turn Loy Yang into an industrial energy hub after it brought forward the closure of its Latrobe Valley power station by a decade.

AGL chief operating officer, Markus Brokhof, told The Express that the company still intended to carry out its maintenance schedule at Loy Yang A, and had just employed six new apprentices.

Mr Brokhof said AGL would need the cash flow from operating Loy Yang A until 2035 to help finance its plans to build 12 gigawatts of renewables and storage by 2036 and five gigawatts by 2030.

AGL announced last week it was getting out of thermal coal by the middle of next decade and would spend $20 billion on the transition.

Mr Brokhof said this money would be distributed between AGL’s Latrobe Valley, Hunter Valley and the Torrens Island sites, to transform them into low carbon energy hubs.

He said AGL would now focus on Loy Yang, after having concentrated its efforts on the next year’s closure of Liddell in the Hunter.

“This needs to accelerate [at Loy Yang] because initially we were speaking about a [closure date] of 2045, this was quite some time to go and there was no need to rush,” Mr Brokhod said.

“Now there’s a new situation and we have to accelerate the development in the Latrobe Valley, but we are not starting from scratch.”

Mr Brokhof said a 200 megawatt battery at Loy Yang was underway, with further talks on the future of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project at the site.

He said AGL was planning to rehabilitate its mine by creating a pit lake, but would prolong mining if any low-emissions industries wanted to use the coal.

There were also contractual obligations with Alinta to supply Loy Yang B with coal, but Mr Brokhof stated this was a “complex agreement” that he could not disclose to the press.

“We will not walk away from our rehabilitation obligations, but if other industries like the HESC consortium come forward and want to use the coal, we will need a change in our mining licence,” he said.

“We will have discussions with the government how we could incorporate this into the future planning for the region.”

AGL also announced it was developing a national energy workforce strategy in conjunction with state and federal governments.

Mr Brokhof said the company would assess the resources, workforce, reskilling programs and industrial partners needed to attract new industries to Loy Yang.

“We are now getting all the people together to develop this strategy; it’s not only AGL that is transforming in the Valley, we have Hazelwood and [Yallourn],” he said.

“There will be a structural change away from coal to renewables and we need every party, the community, Indigenous people, state and federal government to do this structural transition.

“We are one stakeholder, we are an important stakeholder, but not the only one to do the structural transition.”

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