Positive result

File photograph



Yallourn Power station’s operational performance was a positive outcome despite Energy Australia recording a loss, the company reported this month, with Yallourn generation availability at 77 per cent in the first half of the financial year compared to 68 per cent in the prior period last year.

The operating loss of $106 million reflecting higher interest costs was partially offset by gains in fair value adjustments. In contrast, the company had an operating loss of $1552 million in the first half last year.

“This includes $400 million to complete major outages for each of Yallourn’s four generation units in 2023 and 2024 ahead of the station’s planned closure mid-2028,” Mark Collette said.

“After a difficult 2022, we are focused on strengthening our operational and financial performance in order to fully unlock our participation in the clean energy transformation.

“Our first half result is an early sign that we have emerged from the 2022 energy crisis as a stronger, more resilient business.

“Better operational performance enables us to improve outcomes for our customers including reliability and affordability. And as our coal assets approach retirement starting with Yallourn in mid-2028, better financial performance enables us to accelerate the development of renewable and renewables-firming projects that will shape our future and support Australia’s clean energy transformation.”

Mr Collette said one renewable-firming project was Wooreen, the 350MW grid-scale battery project set to be located next to the Jeeralang gas power station.

“Planning is continuing,” he said.

EnergyAustralia confirmed it was focussing on strengthening operational and financial performance after recording a $91 million EBITDAF (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and fair value movements of financial instruments) compared with $26 million in the same period the year before.

Mr Collette said this was due to improved generation performance, which was partially offset by higher energy costs and ongoing margin pressure from competition and an inability to fully reprice higher costs to customers.

“Improved generation availability also helps our customers with more supply supporting downward pressure on electricity price growth,” he said.

“We understand the significant impact that rising energy prices are having on our customers. We are continuing to actively support customers facing financial difficulty through our EnergyAssist program with payment plans, staying-connected guarantees, debt relief and, for small businesses, cashflow assistance initiatives. This will involve around $30 million in assistance this financial year, up around 16 per cent compared to 2022.”

However, easing market conditions to rebalance generation and price risk resulted in a big improvement in mark-to-market positions of forward electricity sale contracts, reaching +$6 million at 30 June 2023, compared to negative $726 million at 31 December 2022.

“Looking ahead, our strategy of making the energy transition simple for our customers, combining behind the meter solutions into our growing flexible energy portfolio is right for Australia’s energy future,” Mr Collette said.

“While the scale and complexity of the transformation presents many challenges, our customer base, our existing generation fleet and our ability to deliver firming energy projects both behind the meter and in the grid has us well positioned to accelerate our customer’s energy transition.”