Renewable energy hits new highs as fossil fuel giants too slow to act

SYDNEY, Jan 28 2021: New data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) revealing surging renewable energy shows that Australia’s coal-burning energy companies, including Australia’s biggest climate polluter AGL, must accelerate closures of coal-fired power stations says Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

The new report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), released today, shows renewable energy accounted for more than a third of electricity generated in the National Electricity Market in the final quarter of 2021, with a record-high average of 34.9 per cent of generation. The previous record was set in the prior quarter, at 31 per cent. 

The report also shows wholesale electricity prices were less than zero more than 11 per cent of the time in 2021, double the average in 2020, due to the cheaper cost of renewable generation.

Glenn Walker, Senior Campaigner for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said Australia’s coal-burning energy giants like AGL must speed their transition to renewable energy to keep up with the pace of the energy market. 

“The latest figures from Australia’s National Electricity Market shows renewable energy moving rapidly towards becoming the largest contributor to Australia’s energy generation. The big energy companies who continue to operate Australia’s dirty, polluting and increasingly unreliable coal-burning power stations are operating at a massive loss, damaging the environment, shareholder value, and consumer confidence. These power stations must close within the decade.

“Trying to run a coal-burning power company in an electricity market that is switching to renewables at lightning speed is like trying to drive a horse and cart down a six-lane expressway. AGL and other coal-burning behemoths simply can’t keep up with cheaper, more flexible renewable generation. 

“AGL, Australia’s biggest climate polluter, can no longer pretend it can mine and burn coal out to 2048, as is currently planned. These latest figures demonstrate AGL’s current policy has nothing to do with the realities of the market, and is driven by AGL’s leadership’s outmoded adherence to coal.   

“However, rather than respond with real climate action, AGL is hiding behind a planned demerger that only serves to greenwash a tainted brand. The company must recognise the reality made clear in today’s AEMO report and join the rest of Australia in making the shift to renewables.”

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