While this report does not suggest any illegal conduct on the part of any of the individuals or organisations named, it shows that AGL is currently using its position and power to slow the transition to a low carbon economy which is jeopardising both human and planetary health, and it presents alternative approaches that would allow AGL to transition from Australia’s biggest polluter to a green energy leader.

Primarily a generator and retailer – or ‘gentailer’ for short – of electricity and gas, AGL was founded in 1837 as the Australian Gas Light Company and now serves nearly one-third of Australian households. With a generation capacity of more than 11,000MW – 20 per cent of the total capacity within Australia’s National Electricity Market – it operates the country’s largest electricity generation portfolio.

The company’s publicity material makes it seem like most of the energy and money it generates comes from renewable power sources like wind, hydro and solar. Indeed, the company proudly advertises itself to the Australian public as green and environmentally-responsible.

The primary reason for AGL’s huge amount of emissions is that despite advertising itself as a hero for the environment, AGL is actually a hero for fossil fuels – and, in particular, coal. It currently owns three ageing coal-burning power stations in Victoria and New South Wales: Loy Yang A Power Station, Liddell Power Station, and Bayswater Power Station, which represent over a quarter of Australia’s coal power station capacity – more than double the carbon of the second biggest electricity generator and more than BHP, Rio, Glencore and Qantas combined.

The continued rise of clean energy is inevitable: it is not a question of if, but when, Australia will be powered entirely by renewables. As Australia’s biggest polluter, AGL can lead the way in this transition to a clean, sustainable future.

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