18 June, 2024
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Origin Energy sets climate transition plan

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Electricity and gas company Origin Energy has released a climate plan for its transition in a net-zero economy.

Origin CEO Frank Calabria said the company recognised the need for “greater ambition and action” on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As one of Australia’s big “gentailers”, combining generation and the sale of electricity and gas to customers, Origin and its peers AGL Energy and Energy Australia have been accused of failing customers on clean energy.

“The release of our first Climate Transition Action Plan is an important milestone for Origin,” Mr Calabria said on Friday.

“We recognise that a significant proportion of our emissions result from our customers’ use of the energy products we sell – or our Scope 3 emissions,” he said.

Mr Calabria said steps had already been taken towards decarbonising the business, including a speedier exit from coal-fired generation with the closure of the Eraring plant, north of Sydney, by 2025.

A big battery is being developed on the Eraring site and Origin plans to expand renewable energy and storage capacity to 4 gigawatts by 2030.

Already dominating the residential solar market, Origin has bought the Yanco Solar Farm in the Riverina region of NSW as part of a push into large-scale renewable energy generation.

But the Lock the Gate Alliance of farmers and environmentalists said it “condemned” the new plan because it didn’t take into account the emissions from new gas basins the company is exploring in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

“We know that fracking the NT’s Roper-Gulf region alone would create a carbon bomb, yet Origin is exploring across three vast new gas basins, including in some of the most precious natural areas in Australia like the Kimberley and Lake Eyre Basin flood plains,” spokeswoman Carmel Flint said.

Harriet Kater, climate lead at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, says Origin states it supports the Paris Agreement to limit global warming, but continues to allocate capital to exploring for new fossil fuel reserves.

“Investors can no longer accept such contradictions,” she said.

Origin said the new ambition includes net zero by 2050, including emissions by the company and those created along the value chain.

The new short-term target to reduce direct or “Scope 1” emissions from company-owned and controlled resources by 8 million tonnes by the 2023 financial year will be linked to executive pay.

There is also a new medium-term target, which the company says is consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, to reduce emissions intensity by 40 per cent by 2030.

A new medium-term target has been set to reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 20 million tonnes by 2030.

The plan will be put to a shareholder vote at the annual general meeting on October 19.

“Origin can expect a backlash at the AGM,” Ms Flint said.

– AAP

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