Turbine project gets green light

The Environment Protection Authority has approved works for a turbine replacement project at Loy Yang B power station.

Loy Yang B owner and operator Engie has been given the go ahead to retrofit each of the power station’s existing turbines with new, “higher efficiency” turbine blades.

The retrofit is expected to improve generation capacity by 8.6 per cent.

The EPA approved the project for 2019-2020, yesterday.

The environmental watchdog’s development assessments manager, Tim Faragher, said the new turbines would decrease the intensity of emissions by five per cent, and make the brown coal power station the least greenhouse intensive generator in Victoria.

The authority have imposed strict conditions to ensure there is no additional environmental impact 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.”

Engie will also be required to install a continuous emissions monitoring system prior to the upgraded power station being commissioned, Mr Faragher said.

Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham described the decision as “disappointing” and based on “flawed logic”.

“It’s extremely disappointing the EPA is allowing Loy Yang B to increase climate and air pollution,” Mr Wakeham said.

“The logic of this decision is that as long as we don’t go above current pollution levels, polluters can keep polluting.

“This is clearly false: climate pollution needs to drop to zero as quickly as possible, and current levels of air pollution are making people sick.”

He said if the state was to keep its global warming commitments, brown coal power stations needed to be “phased out urgently, not allowed to expand and lock-in further operation”.

The Express sought comment from Loy Yang B operator, Engie.