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AGL Energy (AGL.AX), Australia’s leading power producer and biggest carbon emitter, expects to speed up plans to shut its coal-fired plants, but the phase-out is unlikely to happen before 2040, Chief Executive Graeme Hunt said on Thursday.

Following a United Nations climate panel report on Monday that highlighted the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions, climate activists stepped up calls for AGL to shut its coal-fired power plants by 2030. read more

Hunt said Australia’s power grid would need coal well beyond 2030.

“We get that … the biggest impact that can happen on decarbonisation in Australia is how we manage the transition in this company,” Hunt said.

“But we can’t make unilateral decisions to close our coal plants without having dire consequences, both in terms of the affordability and reliability of electricity in the NEM (National Electricity Market) and the negative impacts that will have on our workforce, our communities and our shareholders.”

AGL, officially ranked as Australia’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, plans to phase out its coal-fired plants by 2048, when its Loy Yang A plant is scheduled to close.

[Sonali Paul]

More: Australia’s AGL unlikely to shut coal power as fast as activists want

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