Options: Indicative renewable energy plans for AGL's Macquarie site. Source: AGL Investor Day pack 2021.

Options: Indicative renewable energy plans for AGL's Macquarie site. Source: AGL Investor Day pack 2021.

AGL plots a renewable future for Hunter coal-fired power station sites

AGL planning to run waste to energy and solar thermal pilot projects at its Hunter Macquarie site

Sustainability
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AGL is in the final stages of planning waste to energy and solar thermal pilot projects in the Upper Hunter as part of a vision to create one of the world's most versatile renewable energy hubs.

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AGL is in the final stages of planning waste to energy and solar thermal pilot projects in the Upper Hunter as part of a vision to create one of the world's most versatile renewable energy hubs.

The company expects to announce its international partner for the projects, to be located at its Macquarie site (home of Liddell and Bayswater power stations), in the next month.

"I think the good news for the Hunter from yesterday's announcement (investor briefing) is that you will see a sharpened focus on new energy in that region particularly anchored in an energy hub at Macquarie where we are starting to show some of the vision about where we can invest in all sorts of energy-based projects that build into the longer term future," AGL chief executive Brett Redman said.

"What we are starting to do is repurpose the grid connections that we have got as well as the land and the other infrastructure."

Overview of AGL's Hunter energy hub development site. Source: AGL Investor Day pack 2021

Overview of AGL's Hunter energy hub development site. Source: AGL Investor Day pack 2021

The two technologies will be scaled up if the pilot projects prove to be successful.

The projects will be part of PrimeCo, one of two business that will emerge from a split of the company announced on Tuesday.

The move to split the company follows an influx of renewable energy into the grid in recent times, causing wholesale power prices to crash to multi-year lows.

The second business, New AGL, will include the company's retailing division.

PrimeCo, will hold the company's biggest generation assets, such as Liddell and Bayswater coal-fired power stations, its gas-fired power stations and wind generators.

Energy hubs, such as Macquarie, will help to facilitate an ongoing transition to renewables as the energy market evolves.

Mr Redman said plans to build a 500 megawatt battery on the Macquarie site were also proceeding, however, a final investment decision was yet to be made.

"We are thinking about these projects in light of the NSW energy plan. We are going to have to see the detail of the energy plan before we can finalise an investment decision," Mr Redman said.

"I'm confident we will be building batteries there. It's a question of how soon, not if."

The company is also investigating the viability of a pumped hydro project at a disused coal mine at Bells Mountain and a Wind farm at Bowman's creek.

"We are still in the early stages of that 10 year journey (for Bells Mountain) but all the indications are good," Mr Redman said.

"What I expect to see there is quite a methodical process of assessment, engineering design, environmental consideration and community engagement on the journey to getting a commercial project up and running there."

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The story AGL plots a renewable future for Hunter coal-fired power station sites first appeared on Newcastle Herald.

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