Alinta plans rapid expansion into renewable energy

By Cole Latimer 15 January 2018

Alinta Energy wants at least one in five of its customers powered entirely by renewable energy by 2020.

The company says it plans to bring a gigawatt of new renewable energy online following its acquisition of Victoria’s Loy Yang B brown coal-fired power station late last year.

It finalised the $1 billion acquisition of Loy Yang B on Monday, ensuring that the plant – which supplies nearly a fifth of Victoria’s energy – continues to operate, and is now targeting a rapid expansion of its renewable energy assets by 2020.

“We’re targeting in excess of 1000 megawatts of renewable energy in the next three to four years,” Alinta Energy chief executive Jeff Dimery told Fairfax Media.

This is the same level of generation as the Loy Yang B power plant.

“For every five new customers were are signing up, one will be supplied entirely by renewables,” he said.

A future without coal-fired power stations is inevitable

Last year it entered into a number of solar and wind power purchase and offtake agreements, including a 12-year offtake agreement with the APA Group which underwrites the construction of the 130-megawatt Badgingarra wind farm in Western Australia.

In Queensland, Alinta is targeting about 200 megawatts of new solar energy, and up to 400 megawatts of wind power in New South Wales.

“Alinta Energy is committed to meeting its renewable energy vision by 2020, and the new scale of Loy Yang B will accelerate our plans,” Mr Dimery said, arguing the plant would allow Alinta to expand its presence across the country.

“We have a number of planned renewable energy projects across Australia and we are confident that we will meet or exceed our target of 1000 megawatts of owned or contracted generation by 2020.”

Despite the hot weather forecast for Victoria later this week, Mr Dimery said he was confident that Loy Yang B had the capability to continue providing power in the heat.

“There are no issues expected ahead with the forecast hot weather,” he said.

Fellow Latrobe Valley brown coal-fired power stations, Loy Yang A and Yallourn, have experienced a number of generator failures over this past month.

The Loy Yang B power station is scheduled to close in 2043, with the nearby Yallourn brown coal-fired power station expected to close in 2032.

However, Yallourn’s operator, Energy Australia, has applied for a licence to extend the lifespan of the coal mine and power plant, potentially up to 2050.

Accommodation for wind farms in Dandaragan Shire