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AGL’s Liddell Power Station closes after 52 years of operation

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World Coal,

AGL has officially retired the Liddell Power Station in the NSW Upper Hunter region after almost 52 years of operation. The retirement comes as AGL prepares to repurpose the site into an industrial renewable energy hub, including plans to build a 500 MW grid-scale battery at the site.

Opened in 1971, the Liddell Power Station has played a critical role in powering homes and businesses across the nation and has made a significant contribution to the Upper Hunter region.

In thanking Liddell workers past and present, Damien Nicks, AGL Chief Executive Officer, celebrated the contribution that Liddell and its workers have made to the Upper Hunter region and the National Electricity Market, while highlighting the future transformation of the site into the Hunter Energy Hub as well as our engagement with the Wonnarua people.

“After providing the market with notice of closure more than seven years ago, Liddell has finally reached the end of its technical life and the time has now come to safely and respectfully retire the station and join the change to a cleaner future.

“Over the past 52 years, this power station has played an important role in shaping the Upper Hunter region, providing thousands of jobs for multiple generations of people and I thank them for the contribution they have made. The friendships and connections that have grown around the power station have helped create a thriving local community.

“Liddell has also played a significant role in powering Australian lives, on average, supplying enough electricity for more than one million homes over its lifespan.

“Today marks the end of one chapter for the site, but also the beginning of another with our plans to transform the site into the Hunter Energy Hub. The world is changing and so is AGL.

“We already have plans underway to build a 500 MW grid-scale battery on the site, a feasibility study into a hydrogen facility is underway, and we are also exploring options with potential partners in industries such as solar, wind, and waste-to-energy.

“The closure of Liddell and the repurposing of the site as an industrial renewable energy hub is an example of AGL’s climate transition plan in action – it will reduce AGL’s emissions by around 8 million tpy – the equivalent to approximately 5% of emissions from Australia’s electricity sector in 2021.”

Markus Brokhof, AGL Chief Operating Officer, outlined the staged approach to demolition of the station and the emphasis on recycling and reusing materials.

“The demolition process is estimated to commence in early 2024 and take around two years to complete. More than 90% of the materials in the power station will be recycled, including 70 000 t of steel which is more steel than there is in the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Critical infrastructure, such as transmission connections to the grid, will be retained as the site transitions into the Hunter Energy Hub.”

Len McLachlan, AGL Liddell General Manager, said that supporting the workforce and community has been at the centre of AGL’s approach.

“We made a commitment to no forced redundancies and to provide new roles for those that wanted them at Bayswater, and I’m proud this is what we have delivered.

“Over half of our Liddell employees will transfer to Bayswater, with the rest deciding to take retirement – as they are at that point in life – or seek other opportunities. Today, we celebrate the people of Liddell who have helped to power the nation over the past 52 years.”

Jackson Channon, Liddell electrical tradesperson, said for many of the workers Liddell is more than just a place of work.

“My grandfather drove one of the trucks when they were building Liddell, and my parents worked here – this place has meant a lot to my family, and for the people who work here, it’s like a community of mates. It’s a bittersweet day for many of us, but I’m looking forward to the new challenge when I move over to Bayswater.”

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