Emis­sions un­der at­tack

Power sta­tions re­ject air pol­lu­tion health claims

The Observer - - NEWS - CHRISTINE MCKEE Christine.Mckee@cap­news.com.au

STAN­WELL Power Sta­tion was in the di­rect line of fire at two com­mu­nity fo­rums in Rock­hamp­ton and Glad­stone last week, where or­gan­is­ers said Cen­tral Queens­lan­ders were be­ing ex­posed to un­nec­es­sar­ily high con­cen­tra­tions of toxic air pol­lu­tants.

Dr James Whe­lan from En­vi­ro­jus­tice Aus­tralia said nei­ther Glad­stone nor Stan­well power sta­tions were fit­ted with mod­ern emis­sion con­trol tech­nolo­gies, manda­tory in the United States, Europe and China and able to re­duce toxic emis­sions by 90 per cent.

While in Glad­stone, he met with the Queens­land Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Sci­ence’s di­rec­tor of com­pli­ance but was told there was no sched­ule for re­view­ing power sta­tion li­cences, some­thing for which he feels there is a strong case.

He said Stan­well Power Sta­tion has no am­bi­ent air pol­lu­tion mon­i­tor­ing within 100km and no com­mu­nity ac­cess to mon­i­tor­ing data.

“It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary that there is are no stack emis­sion lim­its set for fine par­ti­cle pol­lu­tion, sul­phur diox­ide or mer­cury,” Dr Whe­lan said.

“The power sta­tion is per­mit­ted to emit ox­ides of ni­tro­gen (NOx) at con­cen­tra­tions up to 13 times as high as al­lowed for power sta­tions in the United States.”

Act­ing Stan­well Power Sta­tion site man­ager Angie Zahra said the power sta­tion was one of the most ef­fi­cient coal-fired power sta­tions in Aus­tralia, with an emis­sions in­ten­sity be­low the in­dus­try av­er­age.

“Our so­phis­ti­cated Con­tin­u­ous Emis­sions Mon­i­tor­ing Sys­tem mon­i­tors NOx, SO2 and par­tic­u­late emis­sions in real time and this data is used to op­ti­mise the process and en­sure emis­sions are well be­low reg­u­la­tory lim­its,” she said.

“The fall­ing cost of new re­new­able en­ergy means it will con­tinue to be in­tro­duced into the mar­ket.”

“Our role at Stan­well Power Sta­tion is to make sure en­ergy re­mains af­ford­able and re­li­able.

“We recog­nise we need to do this in a re­spon­si­ble way which bal­ances the needs of the en­vi­ron­ment and our com­mu­nity...and 300 em­ploy­ees.”

She said the power sta­tion used elec­tro­static pre­cip­i­ta­tors, which were 99 per cent ef­fec­tive in cap­tur­ing par­tic­u­late emis­sions; all gen­er­a­tion units had low NOx burn­ers, de­signed to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce emis­sions of ox­ides of ni­tro­gen; tur­bines had been up­graded to burn less coal to pro­duce the same amount of elec­tric­ity and re­duce emis­sions and an ad­vanced con­trol sys­tem al­lowed for close mon­i­tor­ing of ev­ery as­pect of the power sta­tion’s per­for­mance.

NRG gen­eral man­ager Chuck Ma­son (pic­tured) said Glad­stone Power Sta­tion op­er­ated within its en­vi­ron­men­tal licence lim­its in ev­ery re­spect, in­clud­ing emis­sions. He said data from the Clean and Healthy Air for Glad­stone pro­gram was pub­licly avail­able.

Photo: Aerial Me­dia Glad­stone

ENVIRO WATCH: An aerial image cap­tured by a drone of Glad­stone Power Sta­tion.

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