Licences and approvals

Brown coal-fired power stations licence reviews


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Brown coal-fired power stations licence reviews

EPA is reviewing the licences of three brown coal-fired power stations as part of our regular licence review program. They are all located in Gippsland:

  • AGL Loy Yang A (Loy Yang)
  • IPM Loy Yang B (Loy Yang)
  • Energy Australia Yallourn (Yallourn).

The conditions on the EPA licences aim to control the operation of the premises so there is no adverse effect on the environment. The current licences set:

  • monitoring requirements (i.e. developing and implementing a site risk-based monitoring program and undertaking ambient air monitoring through the Latrobe Valley Air Monitoring Network)
  • reporting requirements (i.e. an annual performance statement that publicly reports performance against licence conditions and limits)
  • amenity conditions (i.e. expectations about managing noise, dust and odour)
  • waste management conditions (i.e. ensuring waste management complies with EPA waste management policy)
  • air discharge limits (i.e. specific stack emission limits for a variety of indicators)
  • water conditions (i.e. quality of wastewater discharged into the environment)
  • land conditions; (i.e. ensuring site activities do not impact on land and groundwater)
  • the boundary of each site.

EPA's periodic licence review program aims to ensure licences are kept up to date with changing science, environmental conditions and community standards.

As part of the review process for the brown coal-fired power stations, we already intend to focus on emissions limits, monitoring and reporting. We would also like to know what the community thinks should be considered in the licence review process. To do this we have undertaken a two-part process.

Part 1 – Targeted consultation

From December 2017 to February 2018, we have sought input from several community and environment groups to better understand their views. These groups are a mix of local and broader groups that already have an interest in or interact with the three brown coal-fired power stations. We have received submissions from:

  1. Australia Energy Council 
  2. Bayside Climate Change Action Group
  3. Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand
  4. Climate and Health Alliance
  5. Committee for Gippsland
  6. Community Over Mining
  7. Doctors for the Environment Australia
  8. Environment Victoria
  9. Environmental Justice Australia
  10. Friends of the Earth
  11. Gippsland Trades & Labour Council Inc.
  12. Healthy Futures
  13. Latrobe City Council
  14. Latrobe Valley air monitoring co-design
  15. Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group
  16. Voices of the Valley

Part 2 – Community consultation

Given the range of things EPA licences cover, we asked for your perspective on what should be considered as part of these licence reviews. We conducted a survey on Engage Victoria in April and May 2018.

The survey asked three questions:

  1. Do you have any comments on this list of pollutants, including any additional pollutants that should require monitoring?
  2. How do you think monitoring information should be made available to the public?
  3. What other licensing issues do you think EPA should consider, and ask the power stations to respond to as part of this review process?

We received a total of 477 submissions (Excel; PDF – personal details are removed to protect submitters' privacy).

Power stations operators’ response to the community submissions

Download the responses and the air modelling report commissioned by the power station operators from the document library on Engage Victoria

Section 20B conference report

An independently chaired community conference was held on 22 August 2018 in Traralgon.

Timeline

  • November 2017
    Licence reviews process starts – notifications to power stations
  • December 2017 to February 2018
    Part 1 – targeted consultation.
  • 19 April to 13 May 2018
    Part 2 – community consultation.
  • 6 August 2018
    Power stations reports and response to community issues.
  • 22 August 2018
    Section 20B conference.
  • 14 September 2018
    Section 20B conference report published
  • October to November 2018 
    EPA considers Section 20B conference report and available information.
  • December 2018
    EPA requests further information from licence holders.
  • January to June 2019
    EPA continues to gather information and advice.
    EPA considers all information and begins the process of making recommendations and negotiating with licence holders.
  • June 2019
    EPA begins drafting licence amendments and the licence review process report.
  • Subsequent steps
    EPA finalises the licence amendments and reports on the licence review process by mid-2019.  

EPA licences background

EPA issues a licence to operate 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.

Periodic licence reviews background

The periodic licence review program comes after the Approvals review final report (publication 1521) 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.

Page last updated on 13 May 2019