Loy Yang Power Station in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, ranked as producing the highest volume of greenhouse gas emissions.
Loy Yang Power Station in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, ranked as producing the highest volume of greenhouse gas emissions. Image Credit: Takver

AGL Energy has again ranked as Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitter in the latest update to greenhouse gas emissions data, released by the Clean Energy Regulator.

Emissions from the AGL Energy group totalled over 43 million tonnes for the 2015/16 reporting period, almost double that of the second ranked company, EnergyAustralia, according to the latest edition of the National Greenhouse and Energy Report, produced by the regulator.

The list of Australia’s most pollutive companies is dominated by electricity generators and resources companies. The top 10 ranking of companies with the highest greenhouse gas emissions includes the big 3 energy companies (AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin Energy), as well as major resources companies Rio Tinto (3rd), Glencore (8th) and Alcoa (9th).

Between them, the top 10 companies in Australia for greenhouse gas emissions account for just over a third of Australia’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Rank Company Emissions (Tonnes CO2-e)
1. AGL Energy 43.7 million
2. EnergyAustralia 22.6 million
3. Rio Tinto 18.5 million
4. Origin Energy 18.1 million
5. Stanwell Corporation 16.9 million
6. International Power 14.8 million
7. C S Energy 13.4 million
8. Glencore Holdings 13.1 million
9. Alcoa Australian Holdings 11.7 million
10. Loy Yang Holdings 10.1 million

Coal remains the largest source of electricity emissions, with almost three-quarters of electricity generated in the 2015/16 period generated using either black (49.8%) or brown coal (21.5%).

Three of the four most pollutive power stations are located in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, and fuelled by brown coal synonymous with the region. This includes Australia’s most pollutive power station, the AGL Energy owned Loy Yang power station.

In addition to Loy Yang, AGL Energy also controls Australia’s second most pollutive power station, the black coal fuelled Bayswater Power Station located in New South Wales’ Hunter Region.

Generation from renewable energy sources exceeded the amount of electricity generated from gas fired power stations. The market share for renewable energy grew to 14.6%, while gas contributed 12.5% to the electricity supply.

Hydro and wind generators dominate a list of the largest renewable energy power stations. Large hydroelectric generators in the Snowy Hydro and Tasmanian hydro schemes rank as the largest producers of renewable electricity.

The Macarthur Wind Farm ranks as the most productive wind farm in the country, which managed to produce over one million Megawatt-hours during the reporting year.

The updated data comes in the midst of heated political debate about the direction of Federal and State Government policies on the future energy system. The Coalition Federal Government has renewed calls for greater support for increasing the capacity of Australia’s fossil fuel generation fleet. Alternatively, Labor controlled State Governments have been pursuing greater investment in renewable energy.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) told a Senate Estimates hearing on Monday that it had received an investment application from a proposed coal-fired generator, to be combined with carbon capture and storage. The CEFC is currently prevented from investing in coal generation projects by effective limitations imposed by the organisation’s governing legislation.

It was later revealed that the application was made by Waratah Coal, owned by former Parliamentarian and mining magnate, Clive Palmer.

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