The Latrobe Valley environment is unlikely to suffer any detrimental air quality and noise effects of 105 diesel-powered generators located at Energy Brix, Environment Protection Authority Victoria says.
It comes after Australian Energy Market Operator contracted power generator hire company Agrekko to deploy the diesel generators to bolster the state’s power supplies over summer when there could be energy shortfalls.
Speaking at a community consultation event in Morwell on Monday, EPA Victoria manager of development assessments Tim Faragher told community members the EPA had assessed Agrekko’s application in terms of potential air emissions and noise impacts.
“[The EPA] is really confident this won’t present any risk to the community,” he said.
“The generators are really an insurance policy and won’t run for significant periods of time.
“Approval is limited to a total operation time of 20 hours total across the whole summer period and is valid until the end of March… and there must be no operation beyond 10pm at night.”
Mr Faragher said approval for the project was classed under “emergency approval” under a provision “that allows the discharge or emission or a deposit of waste to occur… for the purposes of temporary relief of emergency or community hardship.”
“If one of those purposes is met and it can be demonstrated and confirmed there will be… no long term impact on health or environment, EPA must grant the approval,” he said.
“It meets the criteria of relief from community hardship, in the sense that it is ensuring continued access to essentials.”
Agrekko managing director Australia Pacific George Whyte said Agrekko had consulted environmental specialists, the ERIAS Group, to form a model to monitor noise and emissions on the project.
“As part of our submission for the EPA, for the approval, we’ve taken five years of data over this period of time and we’ve done all the modelling for noise and emissions to ensure it is within the safe perimeters of what is required, and that is for approvals,” he said.
“And also part of our submission, what we need to do is also monitor that.
“So throughout the contract [The ERIAS Group] will be monitoring in strategic positions to ensure that we abide with the conditions required.”
For community response, see Thursday’s Express.