Current issues

Diesel power generators in Morwell


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EPA’s decision on the 30A application

EPA Victoria has issued a 30A approval (PDF 2.1MB) to Aggreko Generator Rentals (Aggreko) to establish up to 120 megawatts of temporary standby emergency power supply that may be required under extreme conditions during the 2017–18 summer. The approval means the company can, under an extreme scenario, operate up to 114 diesel-powered generators at Morwell’s Energy Brix site for short periods.

The Energy Brix site is home to the old Morwell Power Station that operated under an EPA licence. The site has existing infrastructure that can connect to Victoria’s power grid. EPA assessed the company’s application in line with the Environment Protection Act 1970 (the Act) and all relevant environmental policy before making its decision.

The company’s application included air modelling information and a risk assessment of air emissions. EPA is satisfied that the likelihood of the generators being required is low and that any risk from emissions will be appropriately managed.

In approving this power generation under section 30A of the Act, EPA is committed to playing an active role in the monitoring of the site and ensuring the local community is fully aware of any air quality matters during the life of the approval.

The approval is valid until 31 March 2018 and is subject to conditions set by EPA, including one that the company must conduct air quality monitoring when generators are operating and make this information publicly available in a timely manner.

It is anticipated that there will be some noise impacts, but monitoring will be required and operation will not be permitted beyond 10pm.

On startup, there will be visible emissions from generators similar to what is seen when a truck starts. These will soon dissipate, although some heat haze may be visible.

Approval

Following assessment of the application, the 30A approval (PDF 2.1MB) was issued by EPA on 1 December 2017. The approval allows for the installation of a temporary power station that will reduce the risk of an electrical supply interruption during extreme weather conditions.

Application and assessment

EPA advised Aggreko on 15 November 2017 that the proposal would require an application for approval under Section 30A of the Environment Protection Act. Aggreko submitted an application for 30A approval on 17 November 2017, with additional information supplied between 17 and 24 November 2017.

Application information received

Application assessment

Community Consultation to date

Aggreko and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) presented details of the project and responded to questions at a community forum in Morwell on Wednesday 29th November. Aggreko have also been contacting other stakeholders, including nearby industrial receptors, to discuss the project and potential impacts.

What is a section 30A approval?

Section 30A approvals are an overriding provision in the Act that permit commercial or industrial premises to temporarily:

  1. discharge, emit or deposit waste to the environment; or
  2. store, treat, handle or dispose of waste on or from any premises.

For the purpose of:

  1. meeting a temporary emergency; or
  2. providing for the temporary relief of a public nuisance or community hardship; or
  3. enabling the commissioning, repair, decommissioning or dismantling of any item of industrial plant or fuel burning equipment.

In order to be granted a 30A approval, EPA must be satisfied that one or more of the purposes outlined above are met and also that there will be no long-term interference with beneficial uses of the environment if the approval is granted. This is to ensure protection of human health and the environment from pollution and waste.

When issued, a 30A approval includes conditions that the approval holder must comply with to ensure the discharge or handling of waste is managed appropriately and does not result in any long-term impacts to the environment, whilst considering the needs of the community and requirements of other stakeholders. A 30A approval includes an expiry date and can be valid for up to 120 days.

Page last updated on 1 Dec 2017