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Australia's Clean Energy Trajectory Speeding Up

Australia - one of the world's biggest emitters per capita - has long been considered a climate policy laggard. Now, a raft of new initiatives is greatly improving matters Down Under.

Sydney Opera House

Thanks to the recent election of a green-centric national government and a billionaire shareholder activist, Australia's efforts at decarbonising its industries is picking up the pace.

The country's dirtiest power plant - responsible for more than 3 percent of the country's emissions - will shut a decade earlier than planned. The coal-fired Loy Yang A power station in Victoria will close in 2035, its owner AGL Energy said.

It was initially scheduled to close by 2048, but that was brought forward by three years in February. The new 2035 deadline comes amid leadership changes at AGL. Earlier this year, Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes became the company's largest shareholder in a now successful bid to force it to become greener.

Since his election in May, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has committed to a 43 percent reduction in 2005 emissions by 2030, up from his predecessor's pledge of 26-28 percent.

The Climate Council says AGL's decision is proof coal is no longer commercially viable in Australia. "Coal is unable to compete on cost with renewable energy, it is also inflexible, ageing, unreliable and inefficient," spokesman Greg Bourne said.

Meanwhile, Australia's largest coal-fired power station will now close seven years earlier than planned, as its operator says it is increasingly unable to compete with the "influx of renewables". The plant will close in 2025 and be replaced by a large-scale battery.

And last week, the Queensland state government a $40 billion plan to transition its coal-fired plants to renewable energy by 2035.


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