By MICHELLE SLATER
AGL has promised it will work with state and federal governments develop a national energy workforce strategy in light of its plans to close Loy Yang A by 2035.
The company is planning to get out of thermal coal by the middle of next decade after it had stated earlier this year it was closing Loy Yang A between 2040 and 2045.
The announcement was made as part of the company’s strategic directions review, after plans to split AGL into two separate entities were canned earlier this year.
As part of the new plan, AGL will progressively decarbonise its assets with 12 gigawatts of renewables and storage by 2036 and an interim target of five gigawatts by 2030 at a cost of $20 billion.
It stated the majority of this will come from wind and batteries.
The company has also doubled-down on its commitment to transforming Loy Yang, the Hunter Valley and Torrens Island sites into industrial energy hubs.
AGL chair Patricia McKenzie said the company “will work with its broad stakeholder group to deliver these ambitious outcomes”.
“It is particularly important that we support our people who maintain and operate our coal-fired power station,” Ms McKenzie said.
“We will work with our people, representatives and government to help develop the skills and capabilities required for new and existing industries as we progress to ensure the transitioning energy sector is supported by a skilled workforce.”
The early closure will cut 200 million tonnes of emissions from Loy Yang A.
Ms McKenzie said the coal closures represented “one of the most significant decarbonisation initiatives in Australia” and aligned with the Paris Agreement.
Incoming interim chief executive, Damien Nicks, stressed the early closure would “be a key source of value for our shareholders”.
Mr Nicks said there had been mounting pressure from banks and equity investors for AGL to decarbonise.
“We see some of our international peers who are successfully transitioning to a lower cost of capital and a valuation premium, in part because of their green credentials,” Mr Nicks said.
Neighbouring power station Loy Yang B has an agreement with AGL to mine the coal out of the open cut.
A spokesperson for Loy Yang B operator Alinta said it would “continue to consult with all relevant parties on the outlook for energy security and reliability in Victoria before announcing any change to our operation”.