Energy Insiders Podcast: AGL CEO Brett Redman on Australia’s “massive” energy transition

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Brett Redman, the head of AGL and operator of Australia’s biggest coal generation fleet says Australia is in the midst of a “massive” energy transition, and explains how he hopes to navigate his way through.

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AGL CEO Brett Redman says Australia is right in the middle of “massive” energy transition, and the question is not if the country will switch to renewables, but when.

“I find it personally fascinating and motivating to fell like that I am in the middle of all of that and able to make a difference as this country goes through that huge transition,” Redman tells RenewEconomy in an interview on the Energy Insiders podcast.

So, how will the company manage that, given the huge profits it is making now and the challenges of carving a profitable market share in a renewables-based, decentralized grid?

“What I’m thinking about is not how we trade day to day – but how do we steer AGL through part of this grand transition,” Redman says.

“If we only focus on this year’s profit, and not on the next 100 years, we are not going to last … and many of the thing that we don’t want done to us will happen to us if we don’t have a social licence.”

Redman’s comments are fascinating given the toxic politics of the energy and climate debate in Australia, and AGL is in the heart of those, given its intention to close down the Liddell generator in NSW by 2022, and also it intention to operate Loy Yang A in Victoria as late as 2048.

In this interview, Redman also talks about his company’s proposal for a mega battery in Queensland, next to the Cooper’s Gap wind farm, and the need for clear signals to invest in dispatchable generation. (Read more on that story here).

“I firmly belive that over next number of decades, old coal will close. When you build new, the cheapest (option) is firmed renewables,” Redman says.

“The last decade has been a debate about clean versus cheap. Clean is now the cheapest. The debate now becomes cheap versus reliable.”

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