World’s Largest Coal Port To Be 100% Powered By Renewable Energy

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The world's largest coal port has announced it will now be powered entirely by renewable energy. The announcement from Port of Newcastle comes as coal power generation in Australia's national electricity market fell to its lowest level in the final three months of 2021. Though the port continues to export an average of 165Mt of coal a year, the move is part of a plan to decarbonize the business by 2040, and to increase the non-coal portion of its business so that coal only makes up half its revenue by 2030. It has signed a deal with Iberdrola, which operates the Bodangora windfarm near Dubbo in inland New South Wales, for a retail power purchase agreement that provides the port with large scale generation certificates linked to the windfarm. Chief executive officer Craig Carmody said the Port of Newcastle's title as the largest coal port in the world "isn't as wonderful as it used to be" and that change was necessary to avoid what happened in Newcastle and the steel industry closed. "I would prefer to be doing this now while we have control over our destiny, while we have revenue coming in, than in a crisis situation where our revenue has collapsed and no one will lend us money," Carmody said. "We get 84 cents a tonne for coal shipped through our port. We get between $6 and $8 for every other product. You can see where I'd rather have my money." As part of its transition the port has converted 97% of its vehicles to electric and engaged in other infrastructure projects to decarbonize its operations. "It's a good thing they're looking at it, but 50% income diversification by 2030, it's still a decade away," said Andrew Stock, climate councillor and retired energy executive who was a founding board member of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. "That's still a lot of coal that's going to go through that port particularly when the IEA and the IPCC have made it clear we have to move. And 50% by 2030 is still 50% coal income." He went on to say that governments should encourage a "rapid advance in the uptake of renewables" similar to what has occurred in South Australia, which is powered by 100% renewable energy on some days.

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