Turbine upgrade project earmarked for Loy Yang B

THE Environment Protection Authority has confirmed it will proceed with a full works approval process for a turbine replacement project at Loy Yang B.

Owner and operator ENGIE has sought to retrofit both of the power station’s turbines, replacing blades and seals to improve “thermal efficiency” during major outages scheduled for 2019 and 2020.

EPA development assessments manager Tim Faragher said the new turbines would consume about four per cent more coal and any possible impacts on the Latrobe Valley community and local environment needed to be considered before a final decision.

“The works approval process will enable the community to more formally have their say and draw to our attention any specific concerns they may have,” he said.

Environment Victoria campaigns manager Nicholas Aberle welcomed the EPA decision to a rigorous works approval application process, but said the power company needed a plan to burn less coal, not more.

“The proposed turbines at Loy Yang B will increase power output, but we have a climate change and pollution problem, not an energy problem – we can get energy from elsewhere if we need it. What’s essential now is rapidly cutting emissions,” Dr Aberle said. The company has not disclosed the specified cost of the investment, but said the project was in the tens of millions of dollars.

An ENGIE spokesperson said a preferred vendor had been selected, but the contract would not be finalised until the project had been approved by the environmental regulator.

The company is holding a community consultation session on Wednesday, 5 October at the Traralgon Business Centre at 6pm.