Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has granted a works approval for IPM Operation & Maintenance Loy Yang Pty Ltd to upgrade Loy Yang B power station in the Latrobe Valley.
EPA Development Assessments Manager, Tim Faragher said the approval enabled the company to retrofit new, higher efficiency turbine blades to each of the existing power generating units.
“The new turbines will improve power generation capacity by 8.6 per cent, while decreasing the intensity of emissions by five per cent. The upgrade will make Loy Yang B the least greenhouse intensive brown coal fired power generator in Victoria,” Mr Faragher said.
EPA has also imposed strict conditions to ensure there is no additional environmental impact resulting from the upgrade.
“At least 114 megawatts of coal fired electricity generation capacity in Victoria must be retired before the upgraded power station can operate,” Mr Faragher said.
“This will result in the upgrade having no added impact on air quality because an equivalent amount of power generation capacity must be taken offline before it starts operating.”
Mr Faragher said EPA had also imposed a condition requiring the company to install a continuous emissions monitoring system prior to the upgraded power station being commissioned.
He said the company had undertaken some initial community consultation and sought EPA’s advice on whether a works approval was required under its existing licence conditions.
“EPA determined that a works approval was necessary because the upgrade is significant and any possible impacts on the Latrobe Valley community and local environment had to be considered.”
Mr Faragher said EPA only issued a works approval when it is was satisfied an application had addressed all relevant environmental issues and consulted extensively with the local community.
- The company had sought EPA’s advice on whether a works approval was required or if the proposal could be exempted under its existing licence conditions.
- The upgrade will require the burning of approximately 400,000 additional tonnes of coal per annum, resulting in a four per cent increase in carbon emissions.
- It will result in a five per cent improvement in greenhouse gas intensity and make Loy Yang B the least greenhouse intensive brown coal fired power generator in Victoria.
- Any additional carbon emissions driven by increased electricity production will be offset by an equivalent amount of power generation capacity being taken offline elsewhere.
- Any increase in emissions of other substances driven by increased electricity production must not exceed the company’s existing EPA licence limits.
- The company will have to provide actual data to EPA after commissioning the upgrade to show that the emissions produced match the modelled values.