Dodgy demerger: Coal company AGL trying to hide its contribution to the climate crisis

SYDNEY, March 30 2021 - AGL, Australia's largest and most polluting energy company, has announced it will demerge its coal assets in a bid to 'dodge responsibility' for managing the inevitable transition away from coal, according to Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

The demerger, which follows a year of dismal financial performance for the company, will see AGL’s coal assets, including the country’s most polluting facility Loy Yang A, shunted to a separate business from its retail arm. [1]

Glenn Walker, Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior coal campaigner, says the demerger is a cynical attempt to ringfence the AGL brand from criticism of its poor environmental performance.

“NewAGL is a bit like “New Coke” – a cynical attempt to rebrand the same old, tired and polluting product, without making any substantive changes. Relying on offsets to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions is a cop-out. As Australia’s largest energy company, AGL has the responsibility to take concrete action to reduce emissions by switching to 100 per cent renewable energy within the next decade, or sooner,” he said.

“AGL is trying to dodge its responsibility to manage the shutdown and rehabilitation of its ageing coal burning power stations by hiding its coal assets in a separate business. This demerger should be seen for what it is – an attempt by a company worried about its brand to hide its reputation as the nation’s biggest polluter.” 

“AGL operates some of Australia’s most environmentally destructive and increasingly unprofitable power stations. Instead of abdicating its duty, AGL must step up, embrace its own marketing hype and rapidly shift its power generation to 100 per cent renewable sources as soon as possible.”

AGL is responsible for almost a quarter of Australia’s total electricity sector emissions and eight per cent of the country’s emissions overall, which primarily comes from the coal burned at the energy giant’s three major power stations: Liddell, Bayswater, and Loy Yang A. 

This morning CEO Brett Redman reaffirmed that AGL has no intention of closing Loy Yang A, its notorious Latrobe Valley coal-burning power station, before 2048. This timeline puts AGL at odds with its competitors, including Energy Australia, which recently announced it is bringing forward the closure date for its Yallourn facility to 2028.

Mr Walker said that AGL’s failure to plan for Loy Yang A’s closure was, at best, unrealistic.

“Given where the coal market is headed, Brett Redman is dreaming if he thinks Loy Yang A can stay open until 2048. This timeline is also completely inconsistent with nation-wide efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” he said.

In recent months demand for renewable energy has continued to soar, with new projects announced almost daily and some of Australia’s largest energy users, such as Coles and Woolworths pledging to source 100 per cent of their electricity from clean energy sources by 2025.

 

Notes

[1] https://cdn-api.markitdigital.com/apiman-gateway/ASX/asx-research/1.0/file/2924-02358644-2A1289840?access_token=83ff96335c2d45a094df02a206a39ff4 

 

Contact

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

[email protected]