Tarong power station
Tarong power station Jordan Philp

Australia's biggest polluting coal power stations identified

OXFORD University has identified Australia's most polluting coal fired power stations and the risk they pose to investors and the environment.

A major report by the Stranded Assets Programme at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment also identified the companies that own the power stations and made estimates on the cost of closing down these facilities.

The research warned the stations are at risk of becoming 'stranded assets' due to their carbon intensity and local environmental impacts.

To limit global emissions to a level consistent with a 2°C future the International Energy Agency estimates that it will be necessary to close around a quarter of all subcritical coal-fired power stations worldwide by 2020.

Australia's 22 highest polluting power stations account for approximately 24% of Australia's carbon emissions.

They are owned by 19 companies and nine out of the top 10 highest carbon emitters in Australia own subcritical assets.

AGL Energy, Origin Energy, Stanwell Corporation, and Delta Electricity are four companies comprising 11 power stations that are responsible for more than half of Australia's total subcritical capacity.

Report lead author Ben Caldecott said these stations had the highest average carbon emissions of any major country and most were more than 30 years old.

The report also estimated the compensation bill for a phased closure of these assets and stated that it was in the best interest of policymakers to shut down some of these stations due to concerns over climate change and localised environmental impacts

 


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