During 2018, coal-burning power stations was responsible for 60% of Australia’s electricity generation.
X But who owns and runs these power stations? What are these companies responsible for? What does each company contribute to Australia’s share of greenhouse gas emissions? And which companies are the highest polluters?
The table below outlines key information about the companies that own coal-burning power stations within the National Electricity Market (NEM), and Western Australia’s equivalent (the SWIS).
These companies have varied decision-makers. Every power station’s situation is different. Some are owned by companies that just generate electricity and then sell it to retailers; some by companies that both generate electricity and retail it to consumers. Some of these companies are publicly-owned by state governments and some are private corporations (either Australian or foreign-owned). Some power stations also have several co-owners. Therefore, the decision makers with control over each station’s impacts and how long they continue to operate vary considerably.
|Companies||Coal Power Stations||Generation Capacity (MW)||CO2 Emissions (tonnes)|
Many of us don’t know a lot about the companies behind coal-fired power stations — who runs them, how they make decisions, and who profits from their operations. Read on for more information on each individual company.
ASX-listed AGL is the largest owner of coal generation capacity in Australia. AGL owns and operates the largest brown coal generator in Victoria, Loy Yang A; as well as the Bayswater and Liddell power stations in NSW. AGL is also the largest owner of all types of generation capacity in the National Energy Market, currently operating 10.4 gigawatts of generation capacity. Only 20% of their total capacity is renewable. All up, AGL is responsible for 6,850MW of coal generation capacity.
The Directors and Executive Team include Graeme Hunt, Chairman; and Brett Redman, CEO. More information on key decision makers is available here.
Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises own Loy Yang B power station in Victoria. They purchased this power station in January 2018 from French energy group ENGIE and Japan’s Mitsui & Co. About 75% of the Loy Yang B power station’s output is supplied to Alinta, a gas and electricity retailer and generator that Chow Tai Fook Enterprises also owns.
It is a private company based in Hong Kong. Limited information about the company is available.
CS Energy is a Queensland Government-owned corporation. It owns the Callide B and Kogan Creek coal-burning power stations, and 50% of Callide C power station. First established in 1997, it is a registered public company subject to the Commonwealth Corporations Act. Two Queensland Government Ministers hold shares in CS Energy, on behalf of the people of Queensland.
The Board of CS Energy is accountable to shareholding Ministers for performance and corporate governance. At the time of writing, the Shareholding Ministers are the Hon. Jackie Trad MP (Deputy Premier, Treasurer, Minister of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Partnerships), and the Hon. Anthony Lynham MP (Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy). More information on CS Energy’s leadership team is here.
Millmerran Power Station is part owned by two different Korean companies, who purchased their stake earlier this decade. Due to their tax arrangements and ownership structure, it’s difficult to confirm the exact split of the 35% ownership stake they collectively hold. More information on DAELIM Energy is available here. More information on KDB Infrastructure Asset Management Co Ltd is available here.
Sunset Power International, which trades as Delta Electricity, owns and operates the Vales Point power station in NSW. Sunset Power International is ultimately owned by Trevor St Baker and Brian Flannery.
The company purchased the power station from the NSW government in 2015 for $1 million. However, the state of NSW still retains significant liabilities for future costs of decommissioning and remediating the site.
X More information on Delta Electricity is available here.
Energy Australia are the third-largest supplier of residential retail electricity within the National Electricity Market (NSW, SA, QLD, VIC, TAS). Energy Australia owns Yallourn power station, the oldest, most polluting (per unit of energy) brown coal power station in Victoria. It also acquired NSW’s youngest coal power station, Mount Piper, from the state government in 2013. As of June 2019, Energy Australia owned or had contracted 5.3GW of electricity generation capacity in Australia.
Catherine Tanna is Energy Australia’s CEO. Information on the leadership team is available here. Energy Australia is owned by Hong Kong-listed company CLP group. Information on their relationship with Energy Australia is available here.
Intergen part-owns two coal power stations in Queensland: 65% of Millmerran and 50% of Callide C. Intergen is a private, UK-based electricity infrastructure investor. It’s jointly owned by Czech coal company Sev.en Energy, which operates coal mines and power plants in the Czech Republic, and Chinese companies Huaneng Group and Guandong Yudean Group. More information on Intergen is available here.
Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), is a large Japanese electricity, gas and telecommunications company. Along with Sumitomo Corporation, KEPCO purchased WA’s Bluewaters power station in 2013. More information about the company is available here.
US energy company NRG Energy own a 37.5% stake in the of the Gladstone power station and operate the facility. This stake is an anomaly for NRG Energy. Of the ~24GW of generation capacity the company owns, the stake in Gladstone and a 144MW (80%) stake in a Turkish gas plant appear to be its only assets outside of the US and its territories. More information about the company is available here.
Origin Energy is an ASX-listed company that recorded over $14 billion in 2019. It has the largest market share of residential retail electricity in the National Electricity Market. It purchased Eraring power station the largest coal power station in the country, in 2013. In addition to electricity and generation, it also has a significant gas exploration and export business. Frank Calabria is Origin Energy’s CEO and Managing Director. More information the leadership team is available here.
The Gladstone power station is majority (62.5%) owned by members of the consortium that owns the Boyne Island aluminium smelter. Ownership of the power station provides the smelter with some security around its electricity costs. The largest stake in the smelter is Pacific Aluminum, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto. The company also holds a 42.125% stake in the Gladstone power stations. The smelter electricity consumption is equivalent to 50% of Gladstone’s generation capacity. See here for more information.
Stanwell Corporation owns and operates three coal power stations in Queensland: Stanwell, Tarong and Tarong North. Stanwell is a Queensland Government-owned corporation. Much like CS Energy, there are two shareholding government Ministers; the Hon. Jackie Trad MP (Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships), and the Hon. Dr Anthony Lynham MP (Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy).
Stanwell’s other key decision makers include a five member executive leadership team, and independent non-executive directors. For more information see here.
Sumitomo is a diversified Japaense Sogo shosha (trading house). It purchased WA’s Bluewaters power station with KEPCO in 2013. For more information on the company, see here.
Synergy is a Western Australian state-owned company. It provides over 50% of the electricity sold to households and businesses in the South West Interconnected System (or SWIS) - the grid that covers the populous south west corner of the state.
Sources: This information was last updated in November 2019. Have we missed something? Information out of date? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org