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State owned generators among Australia's worst polluters


The State Government-owned Stanwell Corp and CS Energy were again among the top greenhouse polluters in Australia last year.

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The two government-owned corporations are responsible for much of the state’s electricity supply and also feed into the national grid. Stanwell ranked number three polluter with 17.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted. CS Energy was fifth with 13.2 million tonnes.

The National Greenhouse Energy Reporting data showed AGL to be the worst polluter. All of the top 10 companies were involved in energy supply.

For the 2019-20 year, 915 companies reported a total of 327 million tonnes of scope one greenhouse gas emissions, a 3 per cent fall on adjusted totals for the previous year. Scope one emissions are those that are created as a direct result of an activity.

A significant factor in the fall was the reduced flaring and venting of gas despite production increases.

The regulator also found that scope one emissions in the electricity sector decreased by 7.5 million tonnes which it said was largely due to increased use of renewable generation combined with a decreased usage of brown coal and improved efficiencies by some black coal generators.

Queensland was responsible for 28 per cent of greenhouse emissions, the highest level in the nation, largely because of its coal mining and coal-fired power generators.

The top 10 polluters were responsible for almost half of all reported scope one emissions with 28.6 per cent of the national total. NSW was second with 25.6 per cent and WA third with 20.9 per cent.

About 48 per cent of Australia’s emissions were through energy supply, 30 per cent from mining and 15 per cent from manufacturing. Transport contributed less than 5 per cent.

The State Government has already started a push to move Queensland away from its dependence on fossil fuels with a plan to have half the state’s electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030. It has so far reached about 20 per cent.

Stanwell also this week called for expressions of interest from renewable energy projects.

Chief executive officer Richard Van Breda said Stanwell had to adapt and transform its energy portfolio to reduce its overall emissions intensity and respond to changing customer expectations.

“Stanwell underwent significant change in 2019, with our renewable and low-emission assets, Barron Gorge Hydro, Kareeya Hydro and Swanbank E Power Station, transferred to the newly created CleanCo Queensland,” Van Breda said.

“We are investigating a range of renewable technologies such as wind, solar, bioenergy and green hydrogen, and energy storage. We also have a 348 MW offtake agreement with Clarke Creek Wind Farm, which will be one of Queensland’s largest grid-connected wind farms once operational.

Queensland has 44 large-scale renewable energy projects that were operating, under construction or financially committed worth $8.5 billion.

Combined with rooftop solar, the state has 6200MW of renewable energy capacity, putting downward pressure on electricity prices.




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