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Australia's AGL chooses 1.6 GW of renewables over coal

Wind farm. Photo by: AGL Energy (www.aglblog.com.au).

December 11 (Renewables Now) - AGL Energy Ltd (ASX:AGL) this weekend said it would close its Liddell coal power plant in New South Wales and replace it with 1.6 GW of renewables, some battery storage, gas peakers and other capacities.

The Australian utility intends to shut down the Liddell station in 2022 based on estimates that the replacement plan would pin the cost at AUD 83 (USD 62.3/EUR 53) per MWh, while it would be AUD 106 per MWh in case the life of the Liddell plant is extended. According to an independent analysis, AGL will have to invest nearly AUD 920 million to keep the coal power facility up and running until 2027.

AGL intends to adopt a staged approach for replacing the Liddell capacity, investing around AUD 1.36 billion in the project. The retired power plant, meanwhile, will be repurposed to support the alternative generation plan post 2022.

To support the replacement plan, the utility already has 653 MW of approved wind projects, at a cost of AUD 62 per MWh. The table shows details on the other capacities needed.

Stage Actions Capacity in MW
Stage 1 Bayswater upgrade 100
Stage 1 Solar offtake deals 300
Stage 1 Synchronous condenser Liddell N/A
Stage 1 Demand response up to 20
Stage 1 Newcastle gas peaker 250
Stage 2 NSW gas peaker 500
Stage 2 Renewables 500
Stage 2 Demand response 50
Stage 3 Liddell battery 250
Stage 3 Renewables 250
Stage 3 Demand response up to 30

“This plan demonstrates that old power plants can be replaced with a mixture of new, cleaner technology, while improving reliability and affordability,” said AGL’s chairman Graeme Hunt.

The utility noted that the portfolio to replace Liddell will help it lower its carbon footprint by 17.6%.

(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.751/EUR 0.638)

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Veselina Petrova is one of SeeNews Renewables most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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