Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has approved a *Section 30A application from Aggreko to establish up to 120 megawatts of temporary standby emergency power supply that may be required under extreme conditions during the 2017-2018 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. If the generators are required they are likely to be only necessary for a few hours at a time, up to a cumulative maximum of 20 hours over the summer period.
The Energy Brix site is home to the old Morwell Power Station that operated under an EPA Licence and 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 and all relevant environmental policy before making its final 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 Environment Protection Act 1970, 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 a condition in the approval 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 start-up, there will be visible emissions from generators similar to what is seen when a truck starts. The visible emissions will soon dissipate, although some heat haze may be visible.
Section 30A is an overriding provision of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (the Act) under which the EPA can authorise discharges, emissions, storage, treatment, disposal and handling of waste in emergencies and other temporary situations that may otherwise be an offence under the Act.
Owners, occupiers or operators of commercial or industrial premises (with or without an EPA licence) may apply for a 30A approval. Examples of situations 30A approvals are utilised include emergency events (such as cleanup after a bushfire or flood), temporary events (like temporary relief of a public nuisance or community hardship) and commissioning (bringing new equipment on or offline).
EPA decides when to issue a 30A approval on a case-by-case basis, but must respond to applications promptly.
If an application for 30A approval meets the criteria to be considered for a 30A (ie. emergency/ hardship/ commissioning/decommissioning) AND
will not cause long-term interference with any beneficial use then EPA must issue the approval.