AGL has announced the winners of its inaugural Newcastle Gas Storage Facility (NGSF) community grants program worth more than $30,000. 

The awards event was held at the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens yesterday and the 12 winners, from diverse charities and registered community groups in the Port Stephens and Greater Newcastle area, were officially handed their cheques. 

While AGL had planned to offer 10 grants of $2,500, the applications were so deserving that the program was expanded and additional grants were awarded. 

“We were really impressed with the grant applications so we decided to offer the grants to more than we initially intended,” said Naomi Rowe, AGL’s community relations manager for the NGSF.

 “There was such a diversity of community groups that were deserving of some funding. We gave money to organisations ranging from a wildlife group that provides temporary homes for native animals, a juggling kick-start program for kids, early intervention services for primary school students, and maintenance programs for local clubs. 

“We look forward to being able to assist local community groups with this annual grants program for many years to come.” 

The program encourages registered charities and community groups within the Port Stephens and Greater Newcastle area to apply for funding of projects, events or initiatives which provide benefits to the local community such as education, environment, health and recreation. 

At least $25,000 of community grants will be offered each year by AGL over the operational lifespan of the NGSF. 

“This means in excess of one million dollars of grants will be given by AGL to the local community throughout the lifespan of the project,” Ms Rowe said. 

The grant recipients were: Wildlife in Need of Care, Tomago Bowling Sporting Club, Tantrum Youth Arts, Him Do Tae Kwon Do Academy, Sons of Anzac, Native Animal Trust Fund, Karingal Preschool Nelson Bay, Hunter Arts, Hunter Simba Football Club, Hunter Region Botanic Gardens, Early Links Inclusion Support Service and Boat Harbour Recreation Club. 

The NGSF will provide gas storage capability for up to two weeks for the Greater Newcastle region, and will be used to ensure adequate gas supply is available for the Sydney-Newcastle gas network during peak demand periods in the winter months. 

The facility is still under construction and expected to be fully operational by mid-2015.

About AGL

AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia's largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.