Energy Brix power station

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm|Navbar-Victoriaandcoal}}Energy Brix power station, also known as Morwell power station, was a 170-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Victoria, Australia.

In July 2014 it was announced that the plant would close.[1] It was shut down the following month.[2]

Location

The map below shows the location of the plant, near Morwell, Victoria.

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Background on Plant

The Energy Brix power station is owned by Energy Brix Australia Corporation, a subsidiary of HRL Limited Group.[3] Since mid 2012 the power station has not been supplying power to the grid but has been operating solely to supply steam to the associated coal briquetting plant. The briquetting plant supplies briquettes used for firing power station boilers and in other small coal-fired units.[4]

In June 2012 the company was granted $50 million to maintain briquette production for a limited period of time and allow customers to adapt to the use of other fuels for their boilers such as gas.[5]

The power station comprises a 20 megawatt generating unit, three 30 megawatt units and one 60 megawatt unit. Waste heat from the power station is used to dry coal used in briquette production. This reduces the electrical efficiency of the plant which has been assessed as having a "sent out thermal efficiency" of approximately 16.9%.[6]

The power station was previously known as the State Electricity Commission of Victoria's Morwell Briquette and Power Station. A review of the Victorian power grid in 2003 states that the plant has a capacity to produce 1.2 million tonnes of brown coal briquettes from coal produced from the Hazelwood coal mine.[6]

The power station is located near Morwell and in 2009 it was estimated to have emitted 1.59 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e).[7]

In late July 2014 the company contracted to operate the briquette plant informed workers that it would shut at the end of August. The following week Energy Brix Australia released a media statement announcing that the adjoining power station would also close at the same time.[8]

Handout from carbon tax package

HRL received $27,721,819.72 of the $1 billion cash payments given out in 2011/12[9] to the operators of the most polluting coal-fired power stations. The cash was paid from the Energy Security Fund which was established as a part of the carbon tax legislation passed in 2011.[10][11]

Hazelwood mine fire

In February 2014 a fire that burnt a section of the Hazelwood mine resulted in the Energy Brix power station and briquetting plant being shut down. The Latrobe Valley Express reported that the conveyor and a coal loader which supplied coal to the power station were damaged in the fire which started on February 9. The Energy Brix power station and briquetting plant went offline on February 12. A temporary coal supply was subsequently organised and briquette production resumed for "non-interruptible" customers. The February 9 grass fire burnt to the perimeter boundary of the power station.[4]

Clean-up and demolition costs

In February 2018 the cost of cleaning up the site, which contains an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 cubic meters of Class A and Class B asbestos, was put at A$60-A$80 million. The cost of demolition was put at A$25 million.[12]

National Pollutant Inventory Data

The Australian's Government's National Pollutant Inventory lists emissions from the Energy Brix power station for 2008/2009 as being:[13]

Substance Air Total (kg) Air Fugitive (kg) Air Point (kg) Land (kg) Water (kg) Total (kg)
Arsenic & compounds 7.1 7.1 91 98
Beryllium & compounds 4.0 4.0 4.0
Cadmium & compounds 5.8 5.8 5.8
Carbon monoxide 4,100,000 71 4,100,000 4,100,000
Chromium (III) compounds 21 21 21
Chromium (VI) compounds 14 14 14
Copper & compounds 14 14 14
Fluoride compounds 1,100 1,100 120 1,200
Hydrochloric acid 1,100,000 1,100,000 1,100,000
Lead & compounds 19 19 18 37
Magnesium oxide fume 490 490 490
Manganese & compounds 490 490 490
Mercury & compounds 3.7 3.7 3.7
Nickel & compounds 85 85 85
Oxides of Nitrogen 5,100,000 600 5,100,000 5,100,000
Particulate Matter 10.0 um 85,000 42 85,000 85,000
Particulate Matter 2.5 um 57,000 42 57,000 57,000
Polychlorinated dioxins and furans (TEQ) 0.000044 0.000044 0.000044
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (B[a]Peq) 1.9 1.9 1.9
Sulfur dioxide 3,300,000 39 3,300,000 3,300,000
Total Volatile Organic Compounds 330 44 280 330

HRL threatens closure ... and wins federal funding

In early May 2012 HRL complained that the introduction of the carbon tax would force the closure of the briquette plant. "With the introduction of the carbon tax … the future of Victoria's only brown coal briquette manufacturer is expected to be unsustainable under a business-as-usual scenario," general manager Tony Ferguson said. The Age reported that Luke van der Meulen, the Victorian president of mining and energy for the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, said that that HRL had told workers that both its power station and briquette plant would stop production immediately in July if it was not successful in the contract for closure program, a federal plan to shutter 2000 megawatts of the most greenhouse intensive coal power stations in the country. The Age reported that "if it was successful, HRL had indicated it would manufacture briquettes until 2015 before shutting."[14]

In June 2012 the Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet and the Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean stated announced that it would provide "$50 million through a restructuring package to help the Latrobe Valley-based company maintain its production of briquettes for a limited period of time so that downstream users have the required time and certainty to switch to cleaner fuels, such as gas." [5] The media release also stated that "importantly, the restructuring package will help ensure Energy Brix is better equipped to meet its obligations with respect to site rehabilitation and employee entitlements."[5]

The decision was welcomed by HRL and its subsidiaries, Energy Brix Australia Corporation Pty Ltd, and Industrial Energy Pty Ltd[15]

Plant Details

  • Sponsor: Energy Brix Australia Ltd
  • Parent company: HRL Holdings
  • Location: Morwell, Victoria, Australia
  • Coordinates: -38.2539704, 146.4136665 (exact)
  • Status: Retired (2014)
  • Gross capacity: 170 MW (Unit 1: 20 MW; Units 2-4: 30 MW, Unit 5: 60 MW)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • Start date: 1958-62
  • Coal type:
  • Coal source:
  • Source of financing:

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. "Coal-fired power station to close in Latrobe Valley, despite $50 million federal bailout", ABC News (29 July 2014). 
  2. ABC News website [http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-19/future-of-energy-brix-power-station-and-briquette/5978532 Future of Energy Brix power station and briquette factory remains unclear, ABC News, 19 Dec 2014
  3. HRL, "Electricity", HRL website, accessed August 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Louis Nelson, "Lack of coal forces workers to wait", Latrobe Valley Express, February 20, 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Briquette Restructuring Package", Media Release, June 29, 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 J. Nunn, A. Cottrell, A. Urfer, L. Wibberley and P. Scaife, "A Lifecycle Assessment of the Victorian Energy Grid", Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development, February 2003, page 8. (Pdf).
  7. The Climate Group, Greenhouse Indicator Series: Australian Electricity Generation Report 2009, The Climate Group, August 2010, page 12. (Pdf)
  8. "Jobs toll could reach 70 at Energy Brix", Latrobe Valley Express, July 28, 2014.
  9. Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency,"Generation complexes eligible to receive Energy Security Fund cash payments", Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website, July 9, 2012.
  10. Australian Government, "An overview of the Clean Energy Legislative Package", Clean Energy Future website, accessed January 2013.
  11. Energy Security Council, "About the Council", Energy Security Council website, accessed January 2013.
  12. Morwell Power Station, riddled with asbestos, granted heritage protection in 'failure of common sense', ABC, Feb. 12, 2018
  13. National Pollutant Inventory, "2008/2009 report for ENERGY BRIX AUST CORP P/L, Energy Brix Aust Corp P/L - Morwell, VIC ", Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, March 2010.
  14. David Wroe, "200 jobs under threat, briquette maker warns", The Age, May 2, 2012.
  15. HRL, "Briquette Restructuring Package", Media Release June 29, 2012.

Resources

External links