Thursday, October 9, 2014

AGL Energy occupied over carbon pollution, Gloucester CSG, policy on RET


Over 60 people attended and occupied the AGL Energy head office in Melbourne this morning siting down on the 23rd floor offices of this energy producer and retailer. Several people locked themselves together on the 23rd floor. A number of climate guardian angels locked on to the front doors at street level. Why were they there?

AGL Energy, once regarded as a relatively green and environmentally friendly electricity producer, has in recent years bought and accumulated assets in black and brown coal generation and coal seam gas exploration and exploitation. It is now a major source and polluter of carbon emissions. Along with it's transformation into a major carbon polluting company, it has also argued strongly for changes to the RET scheme for the Large Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) to be abolished and existing arrangements grandfathered, and also the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Target (SRET) to be abolished.

Paul McArdle in a blog post at WattClarity® on 10 October argues that AGL is almost twice as large as the second biggest generator in terms of capacity gemeration for the National Electricity Market (NEM).

  • AGL Energy is developing CSG at Gloucester against the wishes of the local community (Newcastle Herald Story
  • AGL wants the RET scheme to be slashed (Business Spectator Story)
  • AGL Energy has recently bought dirty and polluting brown and black coal generating stations like the Loy Yang A Power station in the La Trobe Valley(Herald Sun story) in 2013, and the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley (RenewEconomy story) in 2014.

Here is a description by Giles Parkinson from Reneweconomy on AGL Energy from June 2014:

"Once the greenest of Australia’s biggest retailers, AGL Energy has changed its priorities since taking advantage of knock down prices to buy the Loy yang A brown coal generator in Victoria (Australia’s largest emitter), and seeking to buy the 4.6GW Macquarie black coal generators in NSW.

"AGL now says that the large scale target of 41,000GWh will be impossible to meet – a claim rejected by renewable developers and big international equipment providers such as GE and Vestas – although it does not say by how much the target should be diluted. "AGL Energy, however, does call for the removal of the rooftop solar component of the RET.

“Household solar PV now no longer requires subsidies to be an attractive proposition for households.”

How the protest unfoldered on twitter:

More videos of why the protest occurred

Climate Guardian: "If the government won't listen to scientists, then maybe they'll listen to angels. What we are saying to them is, it isn't your place to put our children's lives in jeopardy."

Media reports from Greenleft Weekly, the Herald Sun and RenewEconomy

Feature images by 350.org Australia

Update 10/10: more media reports

The Australian Financial Review featured a photo from the protest on their front page along with a story from Federal Abbott Government Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs who said that Australian National University’s blacklisting of gas producer Santos and six other resource companies was a threat to jobs. This highlights that the Divestment campaign, which started off as primarily a symbolic campaign, is now starting to hurt. If the Federal government will not take action on climate change to rapidly reduce emissions, then it is up to the community to divest and pressure institutions and businesses to divest from high carbon intense companies, or face withdrawal of the social licence to operate.

Meanwhile in Gloucestor on Friday there is a walk of shame occurring: