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Hong Kong's Alinta Energy offers $250m for Muswellbrook's Liddell power station

Hong Kong's Alinta Energy offers $250m for Muswellbrook's Liddell power station

LIDDELL power station owner AGL says it has received a “highly conditional” offer of $250 million for the ageing coal-fired generator at the centre of a national political controversy over energy policy.

AGL had repeatedly said it was sticking by its plan to decommission the 2000-megawatt power station in 2022 and on Friday announced details of a 252-megawatt gas fired generator it intends to have operating at Tomago before then.

But the Turnbull government has been worried that the $400-million generator, and the other power projects that AGL has unveiled as its post-Liddell “NSW Generation Plan”, will not be enough to replace Liddell’s output.

It had said, however, that it would be obliged to consider an offer, if one arrived, which is what happened when the Alinta bid lobbed on Monday.

In a statement to the stock exchange, AGL said it had received a “non-binding, highly conditional indicative offer” from Alinta and its parent company, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, to buy Liddell, associated assets and the land they stood on, for $250 million.

“AGL is assessing the proposal. No assurance can be given that any transaction will result from the offer. AGL will provide further updates to the market as appropriate.”

AGL said it had not sought to sell Liddell because it needed its power until 2022 and the site, afterwards, for part of its post-2022 generation plan. On Friday it said it wanted to build a battery bank near the station.

Alinta had previously indicated it was prepared to spend about $1 billion on Liddell but this was a combination of purchase price and work on the plant to keep it running until 2029 at least.

It was AGL that unveiled the $250 million price tag on Monday morning.

The Alinta offer was criticised by environmentalists, with the Nature Conservation Council describing any sale as a serious breach of AGL’s “commitment” to rein in “climate pollution” by closing the station.

The council contrasted Alinta’s bid with its decision to shut the Northern coal-fired power station at Port Augusta in 2016.

The Herald

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