Coal-fired power companies have been named as Australia’s largest polluters by the Clean Energy Regulator, dominating the list of the top 10 biggest carbon emitters.
The level of scope-one emissions, which are created directly from a company’s activity, stayed broadly flat year on year at 336 million tonnes, the regulator’s latest data shows.
However, the top 10 polluters now account for a greater proportion of these emissions, with 50.2 per cent in 2017-18, up from 49.7 per cent the previous year.
The electricity generation sector accounted for more than half of all scope-one emissions, although emissions fell from 176 million tonnes of carbon equivalent in 2016-17 to 169 million tonnes in 2017-18, thanks to the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power plant and greater energy efficiency at power stations. However, this reduction was largely written off by a booming West Australian LNG industry, which saw its emissions increase by 4.1 million tonnes.
Melbourne University energy expert Dylan McConnell said the fact scope-one emissions remained stagnant despite the electricity sector’s massive emissions reduction highlighted the need for national energy and climate policy.
“The fact the scope-one emissions are still increasing, by 0.8 million tonnes, while there is a simultaneous large reduction in electricity sector emissions of 6.8 million tonnes, or 4 per cent, points to the dire need for decarbonisation policies and strategies in the non-electricity energy sector,” Mr McConnell said.
Based on the CER data, the largest emitters are:
1. AGL (COAL/GAS) – 43.1 million tonnes (Position in 2016/17: 1)
AGL is once again the largest carbon emitter in the country, although it has reduced its overall carbon emission levels by 200,000 tonnes year on year. AGL takes the top spot due to its ownership of the Bayswater and Liddell coal-fired power stations in the NSW Hunter Valley and the Loy Yang A coal-fired power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. It plans to close Liddell in 2022, slashing about 14 million tonnes from its emission levels.
2. EnergyAustralia (COAL/GAS) – 21.7 million tonnes (Position in 2016-17: 2)
EnergyAustralia runs the Yallourn coal-fired power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, the Mt Piper coal-fired power station in NSW’s Lithgow region, and has a number of smaller gas-fired power stations in NSW and Victoria.
3. Stanwell Corporation (COAL) – 18.4 million tonnes (Position in 2016-17: 3)
Stanwell owns the enormous Tarong coal-fired power station, which accounts for almost half of all of Queensland’s coal power.
4. Origin Energy (COAL/GAS)– 18.1 million tonnes (Position in 2016-17: 4)
Origin owns the country’s largest coal-fired power station, Eraring, on NSW’s Lake Macquarie. Origin said its plans to close Eraring in 2032 would slash its emissions levels in half. The group also owns a number of gas-fired power stations.
5. CS Energy (COAL) – 14.7 million tonnes (Position in 2016-17: 5)
The Queensland state-owned generator runs three coal-fired power stations: Callide B & C and Kogan Creek. It also owns the Kogan Creek coal mine.
6. Chevron Australia (LNG) – 12 million tonnes (Position in 2016-17: 12)
Chevron is a major global oil and gas company. It operates the massive Gorgon, North West Shelf and Wheatstone LNG processing facilities and saw a boom in activities during the past year.
7. Pioneer Sail Holdings (COAL) – 11.3 million tonnes (Position in 2016-17: 47)
Pioneer Sail Holdings is a new addition to the list this year. This group is a subsidiary of Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE) and owns the rapidly growing power company Alinta and the Loy Yang B power station. Pioneer is technically the group that owns and operates Victoria’s Latrobe Valley-based Loy Yang B coal-fired power station. It operates Alinta and Loy Yang B as two separate companies, selling power from LYB to Alinta. It was Loy Yang Holdings in the previous year, and was sold by Engie to CTFE.
8. OZGen Holdings (COAL) – 11 million tonnes (Position in 2016-17: 7)
OZGen owns InterGen Energy, which runs the Millerman power station and runs the Callide C coal-fired power station in a joint venture with fellow top 10 company CS Energy.
9. Woodside Petroleum (LNG) – 10 million tonnes (Position in 2016-17: 8)
Woodside is one of Australia’s largest oil and gas companies. It operates large gas processing facilities in Western Australia and has begun ramping up LNG processing at its Wheatstone facility. It plans to increase the size of its operations in the coming year.
10. NRG Victoria (COAL)– 8.5 million tonnes (Position in 2016-17: 16)
NRG Victoria is an industrial manufacturer and also operates the Gladstone coal-fired power station in Queensland, in a joint venture with Rio Tinto.
Glencore was one of the few companies to slip out of the top 10, having reduced its emissions levels from 9.7 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 6.9 million tonnes in 2017-18.
Online marketplace Amazon was the only registered business to withhold its emissions information from publication.
It comes as the government announces $67 million in funding for new energy efficiency measures aimed at cutting power costs and reducing emission levels.
“This investment will deliver an abatement of 63Mt of carbon, ensuring we make a meaningful contribution to our emissions,” Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said.
This article was originally published by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Business section.
Read the original here.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.