NSW’s largest electricity user plans to go green and ditch AGL coal – pv magazine Australia
One of the country’s most power-hungry smelters is planning to switch to renewables, a move that would significantly reduce its footprint and send a clear message to producers that even if the federal government continues to support coal, Australia will not. do not.
Tomago Aluminum, NSW’s largest user of electricity, plans to switch to renewables after its contract with coal-dominated AGL expires at the end of 2028.
Tomago Aluminum Managing Director Matt Howell told the Australian Financial Review He envisions the smelter, located near Newcastle in the north of the state, will run primarily on renewable energy by 2030.
“Our goal would be, by 2029, for the largest load in Australia to be, for all intents and purposes, 100% renewable,” he said.
That would be a remarkable change as the foundry, Australia’s largest, consumes more than 10% of the state’s electricity. This is arguably one of AGL’s biggest contacts – a clear signal that companies are no longer willing to be associated with a company considered to be Australia’s biggest emitter.
Tomago Aluminum is said to be in talks with solar, wind and hydro suppliers, but will need a reliable back-up generator to ensure an uninterrupted supply. Noting Neoen’s big battery fire in Geelong last month, the CEO of the company voiced concerns about both the commercial viability and technical risks of battery storage, about which he remains skeptical.
Instead of going this route, Tomago Aluminum could sign a contract with Snowy Hydro’s Kurri Kurri gas power plant project, claiming that the current cost of around $ 70 / MWh for confirmed renewable electricity would put the smelter out of service.
The boss of Tomago Aluminum however noted the rapid pace of change around renewables, adding that by the time the company’s AGL contract expires in 2028, there may be more attractive clean options available.
One of the first renewable energy areas under development in New South Wales is in the Hunter Smelter area, which has traditionally been a coal export area. The development of a number of renewable projects focused in this area will likely make Tomago Aluminum’s transition to renewables both easier and cheaper.
AGL struggles to change course
AGL, Australia’s largest electricity producer, has suffered sustained criticism for its use of coal. Successfully tagged with the unenviable title of Australia’s largest transmitter, the company recently sought to change course and split in two.
AGL is also undertaking a massive push towards the development of large-scale storage, commit to building 850 MW of battery-based assets by 2024. Whether the company can change course before coal-fired electricity markets completely dry up remains to be seen.
This content is protected by copyright and cannot be reused. If you would like to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: [email protected]