Licences and approvals

Brown coal-fired power stations licence reviews


Brown coal-fired power stations licence reviews

EPA is reviewing the licences of three brown coal-fired power stations – AGL Loy Yang A, IPM Loy Yang B and Energy Australia Yallourn – as part of our periodic licence-review program.

EPA understands there is significant community interest in these licences and we have invited a select group of community representatives to consult on the licence application process for the three power stations.

On this page:

EPA licences background

EPA issues a licence when satisfied that an applicant has put in place measures to protect the environment. Licences allow activities to occur and set performance outcomes based on a site’s environmental risk. There are different types of conditions on a power station licence. They include general, amenity, air, water and land conditions.

EPA can amend, suspend, or revoke a licence in response to changes in standards, site activities or licence holder performance. Licence holders must submit an annual performance statement and pay an annual fee to EPA. All licences and performance statements are publicly available. More information licences and performance statements can be found in this link http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/licences-and-approvals.

Periodic licence reviews background

The periodic licence review program comes after the EPA Approvals Review Final Report, publication 1521, March 2013, identified a need to ensure licences are kept up to date with changing science, environmental conditions and community standards (see recommendation H). The periodic reviews involve updating conditions, licence limits and administrative details of all EPA licences. EPA is currently undertaking the periodic reviews in a sector by sector approach.

As part of this review, EPA already intends that all the three brown coal fired power stations licences will have limits for oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), mercury (Hg) (new), coarse particles (PM10) and fine particles (PM2.5) (currently just total particles) to comply with the State Environment Protection Policy (Air Quality Management).

Review process

The following is proposed:

  1. EPA is seeking a list of issues that community groups (see How to get involved below) believe power stations and mines need to respond to as part of this review. The list will be shared with the three power stations for consideration and they will be asked to respond in a report.
  2. At EPA’s request the three power stations are each preparing an air quality assessment report which to show to show that current performance and the licence limits (for NOx, SO2, CO, Hg, PM10 and PM2.5) will meet policy requirements. The assessment report will also address the list of community issues.
  3. EPA will share the reports with all relevant community groups ahead of hosting a 20B conference. EPA expects the key community groups and power station operators to attend the conference.
  4. Both the respective power station reports and a 20B conference summary report will form the basis for EPA to then complete the review of each of the site licences and issue amended licences.

How to get involved

Initially, EPA is seeking a list of key issues from community groups for the power stations to respond to as part of these reviews and for EPA to consider addressing in amended licences. You are not required to make lengthy, detailed submissions. Rather for the list of issues to be manageable, EPA seeks the following:

  1. Keep your list short and in order of priority
  2. The issues must relate to licensing of power stations.
  3. The issues must be presented as dot points (a paragraph may be added to give clarity on the issue).
  4. A draft list of issues (see last page), was pre-prepared to aid you in preparing a list of issues. We appreciate that this list is not exhaustive or may not be up to date or reflective of your concerns. Please raise your own issues, including reiterating any in this list that you believe are important. If this list covers keys issues from your community group point of view, please return the same list put in order of your priority.

Important dates

  • Closing date for submissions: 11 February 2018.
  • Power stations reports due date: 30 March 2018.
  • Reports offered to community groups: 6 April 2018.
  • Section 20B conference (EPA Act 1970) – invitations will be send separate to this. The actual date is yet to be confirmed (but likely to be during the week ending 11 May 2018).

Timeline

Click for larger image.
  

Draft list of key issues

The list below is based on community views that EPA has heard at different forums. It is intended to assist you in preparing a list of issues import to you. We appreciate that this list is not exhaustive or may not be up to date or reflective of your concerns. Please raise your own issues, including reiterating any in this list that you believe are important. If this list covers keys issues from your community group point of view, please return the same list put in order of your preference.

  1. Public release of emission data in real time
    •  The Independent inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority, recommendation 16.2, requires EPA licensees to make emissions monitoring information available to the public.
  2. Continuous monitoring of emissions
    •  Community participating in the Latrobe Valley Air Monitoring Network co-design process in 2016 identified the need for Continuous monitoring of emissions from power stations and real time release of monitoring data to the public.
  3. Continuous improvement
    •  The Environmental Justice Australia, Toxic and Terminal; How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities, 7 August 2017 recommends that the power stations be subjected to a mandated state government emissions reduction program for PM2.5, PM10, SO2 and NOx to reduce their emission in line with best available techniques.
  4. Air quality monitoring and reporting - Increased ambient air monitoring effort by industry including:
    •  The need for the Latrobe Valley Air Monitoring Network http://lvamninc.com.au/ (the air monitoring stations privately run by the power stations at Rosedale South, Jeeralang Hill, and Traralgon) to be available alongside EPA’s air monitoring data. Now EPA links the LVAMN on its website.
    •  Monitoring and reporting on fine particles in at least one location in the Latrobe Valley.
    •  A particle characterisation study to better understand sources of particle pollution in the Latrobe Valley.
  5. Other issues
    •  Management of dust emissions from the mines (given mines are within licensed premises).
    •  Waste water discharges from Yallourn increasing salinity to Morwell River, which in turn impacts on the Latrobe River.
    •  Waste water discharges for Loy Yang A for keeping environmental flows in the Traralgon Creek, is it needed?  

List of community groups invited

1. Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand
2. Climate and Health Alliance
3. Doctors of the Environment Australia
4. Environment Australia
5. Environmental Justice Australia
6. Gippsland Trades & Labour Council Inc
7. Healthy Futures
8. Latrobe City Council
9. Latrobe Valley air monitoring co-design
10. Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group
11. Voices of the Valley

Page last updated on 15 Dec 2017