With nearly 88% of its electricity coming from fossil fuels, Australia seems a long way from the government's target of cutting carbon emissions to be 5 per cent below levels measured in the 2000s over the next 35 years.
But one of the country's utility giants is hoping to change that.
Leading Australian power provider AGL Energy announced a new policy earlier this month that will allow the company to decarbonise its electricity generation by 2050, according to a post on their blog.
AGL Energy, which provides electricity for more than 3.8 million households and businesses in Australia, ranked Australia's third-largest polluter in a March by the Australian Conservation Foundation, producing a total of 19,928,540 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the 2013-2014 year. During that time, a single power station--Loy Yang A in Victoria--accounted for 94 per cent of AGL's emissions, according to the ACF's report.
The company's latest greenhouse gas policy stipulates that all its existing coal-fired power stations will be closed by 2050.
"It will be an ongoing, progressive process, managing the efficient operations of our assets, and the transition of our people into new generation technologies and careers," says AGL Managing Director and CEO Andy Vesey.
In addition, AGL will improve efficiency of its current operations, continue to invest in zero-emission technologies, remain committed to providing customers with affordable electricity, and further support the commonwealth's long-term goals in reducing Australia's emissions.
"It is important that government policy incentivise investment in lower-emitting technology while at the same time ensuring that older, less efficient and reliable power stations are removed from Australia's energy mix," Vesey says. "Decarbonisation and modernisation of Australia's electricity system are important goals requiring effective policy."
This month, AGL completed installation of the 102 MW Nyngan Solar Plant, Australia's largest utility scale solar plant. With over $3 billion invested in renewables, AGL has been dubbed the nation's largest owner, operator, and developer of renewable energy by the Australian Security Exchange. AGL's renewable assets, which also include wind and hydroelectric power, helped cut greenhouse gas emissions by 3.4 million tonnes in 2014. The company's current renewable energy generation capacity totals 1766 megawatts, making up 17 per cent of AGL's total electricity generation.