AGL targets US$13bil in renewable energy funds

SYDNEY: Australia’s AGL Energy Ltd unveiled plans to invest up to A$20bil (US$13bil or RM60bil) in new renewable energy by 2036, and pulled forward by 10 years to 2035 an announced exit from coal-fired generation.

The country’s top power producer aims to supply up to 12 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable generation before 2036 and expects to fund the investments through a combination of assets on the balance sheet, offtake agreements and partnerships.

AGL, which in May ditched plans to split following opposition from top shareholder and billionaire climate activist Mike Cannon-Brookes, has an interim target to have up to five GW of new renewable energy by 2030.

“We expect to be able access a wider pool of capital and attract new investors, which will ultimately result in a lower cost of capital and a more sustainable business,” AGL chairman Patricia McKenzie said in a statement.

AGL, which is the country’s top polluting company, now targets closure of its Loy Yang A power station by 2035. It remains on track to shut the Liddell power station in April 2023 and Bayswater between 2030 and 2033.

Annual greenhouse gas emissions are expected to reduce from 40 million tonnes to net-zero on achieving targeted closure, the company said.

Cannon-Brookes has pushed AGL to speed up the closure of its coal-fired plants and overhaul its strategy to focus on decarbonisation and renewable energy.

As part of that campaign, his investment arm Grok Ventures on Wednesday nominated four additional directors to the board.

Grok Venture has an 11.3% stake in the power producer. The firm did not immediately respond to request for comment on the latest announcements from AGL.

AGL also said it now expects underlying profit after tax of between A$200mil (RM602mil) and A$320mil (RM964mil) this fiscal, compared to A$225mil (RM677.4mil) reported last year. — Reuters

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