AGL Energy to allow customers to fully offset emissions for $1/week

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AGL says electricity customers will be able to fully offset emissions from their electricity supply for $1/week from July 1.

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AGL Energy says it will introduce a new program on July 1 that will allow all its electricity customers to fully offset their greenhouse emissions for just $1 a week.

The proposal was announced by managing director Andrew Vesey at the 3rd Emissions Reduction Summit in Melbourne on Tuesday.

“As of July 1, all electricity customers can totally offset the carbon associated with their electric consumption for $1 a week … with high quality, verifiable Australian domestic products and credits,” Vesey said.

It is believed to be the first time that a major Australian energy retailer has offered such a package for consumers, although most, including AGL Energy, have offered a varying scale of “green products” to at least notionally increase the amount of renewable energy consumed.

AGL has 3.7 million customers, but they have some of the highest emissions per unit of energy due to being the biggest owner of coal-fired generators in Australia, although AGL is also the biggest producer of renewable energy in the country.

Vesey said the $1 a week charge would cover the cost of the carbon offsets and the transaction costs, but would not deliver profits. He said it would be about 30 per cent cheaper than “green power” programs. It would be simpler and cheaper.

He declined to specify exactly what sort of offsets the company would contract with, but said “we know the type of investments we are looking for.”

The uptake of “green power” programs in Australia has been relatively poor, and Vesey said such programs had “credibility” problems.

“We have to make (this new program) easy, convenient … and low cost. We know the type of offsets that the customer wants. We want to get to the point where you can click on your (iPhone) App to make it easy.”

Vesey said such incremental steps were “critically important” in the transition to a zero carbon future, although he said that with the right policies, that transformation can happen “almost overnight.”

AGL has previously announced that it would not extend the life of its existing coal plants, and Vesey reiterated today that no new coal plants would be built or financed.

“We have said we are getting out of the CO2 emissions business, but not the coal business. Right now, it looks like the same thing,” he said.

AGL, he noted, was the largest generator of renewable energy is Australia, with capacity of more than 1,700MW, mostly in wind farms and newly built solar farms.

However, it is also the largest owner of coal-fired generators, with the Loy Yang brown coal generator in Victoria and two large black coal generators in NSW.

Vesey reiterated that it was critical that excess coal capacity was removed. There is currently 7,000MW of excess coal capacity and, with another 5,000MW of renewable energy to be built by 2020, the fall in wholesale prices would stop private capital from entering the market.

He called for a program to close the dirtiest power stations, a move away from “energy only markets” (AGL wants capacity markets to be introduced), and moves to stop networks from entering the household solar and storage market.

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  1. juxx0r 3 years ago

    More greenwash. Why dont they pull their finger out and build emission free power sources? Because they want someone else to pay for their inaction and maintenance of the status-quo for perpetuity.

    • Jon 3 years ago

      Inaction? As the article says they have already built over 1700MW of renewables and lead the market in this space.

      Is it greenwash because they re a big retailer and not some new player like Powershop who buy the same energy and offsets and call it green. Just because they are large doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be applauded for a step in the right direction.

      • juxx0r 3 years ago

        Why dont they offer the option for customers to pay $1 a week to BUILD new carbon free power sources? Wouldn’t that be better for everyone? This is just bullsh1t.

        • Jon 3 years ago

          They do, its called Greenpower! You can get it from any retailer.Do you buy it?

          • juxx0r 3 years ago

            Keyword being BUILD. BUILD, BUILDY BUILD BUILD BUILD.

            Nobody does that. I tried to buy that. They gave me some cockamamy BS that they went on to contradict as soon as the carbon tax came out.

            They are lying cheating corrupt BS artists.

          • Jon 3 years ago

            So you’re saying that anyone who sells Greenpower is a fraud (or lying cheating corrupt BS artists as you put it). Even though every MWh of Greenpower purchased is additional to the RET and works in the same way as the RET to drive the BUILDing of new renewable energy projects. If you really cared about this you would buy Greenpower not make excuses and hope that someone else pays for it.

          • juxx0r 3 years ago

            Nothing about building in their response:
            “Thankyou for your enquiry re Green Energy.

            Synergy has two Green Energy products – Easy Green and Natural Power. These products allow customers to apportion either a percentage of their energy consumption, or a set dollar amount to each two-monthly Synergy account for the purchase of renewable energy.

            As part of the accreditation process Synergy are required to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for every MWh of our EasyGreen and Natural Power sold. RECs for new customers are only available from renewable generators commissioned after January 1997, so this requirement helps to stimulate development in the renewable energy industry. However, the purchase of the REC adds to the cost of Green Energy products.

            The renewable energy industry is developing and innovating. There are research and development costs, capital start-up costs etc, which make purchasing renewable energy more expensive.

            Synergy puts the extra money you pay towards purchasing renewable energy, and as a GreenPower accredited product, all power purchased is from WA renewable energy sources, to stimulate and support development of the renewable energy industry.”

            Then they went on to charge the carbon tax on what was supposed to be green energy.

  2. Jonathan Prendergast 3 years ago

    Powershop electricity is 100% offset I believe, so AGL are following their lead.

  3. Stan Hlegeris 3 years ago

    And of course we can trust AGL to act in the interests of consumers and the environment, because AGL has done so much to earn that trust.

  4. john 3 years ago

    The very last few lines mention (AGL wants capacity markets to be introduced) this is where generators are paid to have the capacity to produce not the power they produce, it is rather like looking at charging a consumer for the ability to supply, not the amount of power consumed.
    So and idle used for 4 days a year plant is paid to have that Capacity to do that.
    Granted there is a good argument to have that last stop peaker plant.
    Perhaps better to put in the storage to take care of it lowering the consumption level to get rid of the duck graph of power now against the bell curve which was the previous situation.
    The present duck tail is now the peak of demand this is the area to be tackled first then the bill of the duck graph.
    How to reduce it? By home storage and commercial storage for that matter this is not some new idea the technology is available and the good part it’s cost is going down week by week.
    How does this tie in with Green Power ? Well the power to be stored is made by the sun directly not stored in the ground for billions of years as is the present technology using gas or coal.

  5. Chris Fraser 3 years ago

    First, I applaud the introduction of varied energy products. But it smells like an ERF rat. The $1 cost for average consumption is associated more with the rate the Minister is spending on the ERF ($13/MWh black coal) which is smoke and mirror credits dating back Kyoto 1997 – and designed to give people feel good approach to their energy’s emissions. And they have the gall to say accredited GreenPower has credibility problems.

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