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The first unit has been closed at the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley, in a step towards the full closure of the site as AGL transitions to cleaner forms of energy.

The full closure of the Liddell Power Station will take place in April 2023. It will be the first of AGL’s thermal generation sites to be converted into an integrated, low-carbon industrial energy hub, which will support energy reliability and regional economic development.

AGL Chief Operating Officer, Markus Brokhof, said the closure of the first of four units at Liddell was a significant moment in AGL’s energy transition, and a clear demonstration of its commitment to decarbonisation.

“We announced the retirement of Liddell in 2015, and seven years later we are pleased to be in a position to begin the orderly and responsible closure and transition of the power station in line with our climate commitments,” Mr Brokhof said.

“As the power station nears the end of its technical life, we are focused on ensuring it continues to operate safely for our people while providing power reliably.

“The transition of the Liddell site into the Hunter Energy Hub will continue to take shape between now and the site’s full closure next year. We are excited about our clean energy plans in the Hunter region, including grid-scale battery, solar thermal storage, wind, hydrogen and pumped hydro projects.

“We’re committed to seeing this site continue its legacy as the backbone of the New South Wales electricity grid as we repurpose the infrastructure to continue delivering energy through the next phase of its life.

“We recognise our responsibility extends beyond the safe operation of our assets and supply of energy. We will take the same high standard we have applied to operating Liddell to ensure we deliver the best practice demolition and rehabilitation.”

Mr Brokhof acknowledged the significant history of the power station in delivering energy to New South Wales and providing jobs to the region.

“Liddell has played a significant role in powering New South Wales for more than 50 years, but it has also been an important part of the Hunter Valley, supporting the community and providing jobs to thousands of people during its lifetime,” Mr Brokhof said.

“Furthermore, our partnership with the Wonnarua Nation will be essential for repurposing the site at the Hunter Energy Hub and our joint aim to ‘close the gap’, as well as acknowledging the traditional owner of this land.

“Many of our people at Liddell have dedicated their careers to delivering reliable energy to homes and businesses across Australia, and we are so grateful for their contribution.”

The closure of the first unit will deliver an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that is equivalent to taking around 400,000 cars off the road.

As part of its Hunter Energy Hub, AGL has already announced a memorandum of understanding with Fortescue Future Industries to explore green hydrogen, a 500MW grid-scale battery and a hydro power station at Bells Mountain.

Earlier in 2022, AGL announced accelerated closure windows for its remaining coal-fired power stations of Bayswater (2030-2033) and Loy Yang A (2040-2045).

AGL’s proposed demerger will result in two industry leading companies – AGL Australia, a leading multi-service energy retailer and Accel Energy, Australia’s largest electricity generator – which will house AGL’s thermal sites and future energy hubs.

The demerger will enable AGL Australia and Accel Energy to responsibly accelerate the decarbonisation of Australia’s energy system in a way that protects and enhances system stability while pursuing growth opportunities aligned to the enhanced capital structures of each business.

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