Yallourn W power station

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Yallourn-W power station is a 1,480-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Victoria, Australia.

Location

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

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Background on Plant

Yallourn W power station is owned by EnergyAustralia (formerly known as TRUenergy), a subsidiary of CLP.[1] The power station is supplied with coal from the Yallourn mine. In mid-2012 the collapse of a river diversion embankment resulted in the mine pit being flooded, conveyor belts damaged, and the power station being offline for most of June. (For full details see the Yallourn mine article.)

The 1480 megawatt power station is located near Yallourn West and, in 2010, was estimated to have emitted 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e).[2] EnergyAustralia estimates that the power station emits, on an as sent out basis, 1.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour.[3]

The power station comprises two 360 megawatt generating units and two 380 megawatt units which were commissioned between 1974 and 1982.[4] (Another report from 2003 lists the units as being two 350 generating units commissioned between 1973 and 1975 and two 375 megawatt units commissioned between 1981 and 1982 with an overall capacity of 1450 megawatts. It was also assessed as the second lowest cost producer in Victoria and with a "sent out thermal efficiency" of approximately 28%.)[5]

EnergyAustralia stated in a late-2012 business review that the power station benefited from a "fixed low cost fuel source" and that the power station was "well positioned to benefit from a rising wholesale gas price market, despite the introduction of the carbon tax from 1 July 2012."[6]

In October 2012 EnergyAustralia announced, as part of its lobbying against retaining the Renewable Energy Target in its current form, that it would idle one 360 megawatt unit at the power station due to the impact of the carbon price "together with weak wholesale electricity prices and falling electricity demand." The company argued that the Renewable Energy Target should be revised to reduce the amount of new wind and solar power supplied to the grid.[7] However, in mid-January, without any announcement or significant media coverage, the unit was restarted to cater for the increased summer load.[8]

TRUenergy flags willingness to close ... if it gets the right price

In mid-2010 TRUenergy signalled that, while they believed that an emissions trading scheme remained the best way to reduce greenhouse gases, they were prepared to phase out the plant if they could negotiate an appropriate amount of direct compensation from the then Labor Victorian government and/or the federal government. "Given there is unlikely to be an emissions trading scheme in the near term, direct action (in the form of compensation for cutting pollution) is certainly something that will reduce emissions," TRUenergy spokesman Carl Kitchen told The Age.[9] However, in September 2012 the federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, announced that plans for the contract for closure program had been scrapped. In a media release Ferguson stated that "the Government could not be satisfied that entering into such arrangements would achieve value for money against the Contract for Closure Program objectives." He stated that regional adjustment funding which had been pledged to areas affected by closure under the program would remain available to areas affected by the carbon price.[10]

Shutdown Date

EnergyAustralia has applied to extend the Yallourn Mine's operating license, which currently expires in 2026, until December 31, 2032.[11] "Since the closure of Hazelwood, Yallourn has taken the mantle of dirtiest power station in Australia," said Mark Wakeham, CEO of Environment Victoria. "Rather than proposing to extend the life of this polluting clunker we should be planning for its closure and supporting the Latrobe Valley community with a fair and just economic transition."

Handouts from carbon tax package

EnergyAustralia received $257,498,933.37 of the $1 billion cash payments given out in 2011/12[12] 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.[13][14]

The $1 billion in payments were made before the carbon price was introduced, with no further payments scheduled for the financial year 2013.

However, for the 2014 and 2015 financial years EnergyAustralia estimates that it will receive 10.7 million free carbon units which at $24.20 and $25.40 each would be valued at $259.4 million and $272.3 million respectively.[15]

From July 2015 it is planned that an emissions trading scheme will commence with the the carbon price determined by the market. The initial plan of having a fixed floor of $15 per tonne from July 2015 was dropped after lobbying from power generators and instead the Australian scheme linked to the European Union scheme. Energy Australia reported that as a result of the watering down of the scheme "Australian carbon prices from July 2015 onwards are expected to be somewhat lower than under the original scheme."[15] EnergyAustralia described the changes as "positive" for it.[15]

Proposed gas-fired plant shelved

In December 2012 EnergyAustralia announced that it had shelved plans for a 1000 megawatt gas-fired power station in Victoria's Latrobe Valley. EnergyAustralia's head of markets, Mark Collette, told The Australian that the power station would not be needed until much later this decade. "We are seeing further deterioration in the energy market and wholesale prices, and we don't expect conditions to improve in the foreseeable future," he said.[16] The proposed power station was to have been built on the site of the existing Yallourn power station. Earlier in 2012 the company had scaled the size of the plant back to potentially 600 megawatts. However, the continued decline in demand undercut the need for the plant.[17]

Coal dust fire

In early January 2013, a small fire broke out at the power station believed to be as a result of high temperatures causing coal dust to ignite. The fire was extinguished within half an hour.[18] In February 2018 a fire was again caused by the accidental ignition of coal dust.[19]

National Pollutant Inventory Data

The Australian's Government's National Pollutant Inventory lists emissions from the Yallourn power station for 2010/2011 as being:[20]

Substance Air Total (kg) Air Fugitive (kg) Air Point (kg) Land (kg) Water (kg) Total (kg)
Ammonia (total) 23,000 640 24,000
Arsenic & compounds 56 56
Beryllium & compounds 31 31
Boron & compounds 38,000 1500 40,000
Cadmium & compounds 46 0 46
Carbon monoxide 11,000,000 11,000,000
Chromium (III) compounds 170 12 180
Chromium (VI) compounds 110 110
Copper & compounds 130 170 300
Cumene (1-methylethylbenzene) 1 1
Fluoride compounds 27,000 4,000 31,000
Hydrochloric acid 1,600,000 1,600,000
Lead & compounds 150 14 160
Manganese & compounds 4,000 6,600 11,000
Mercury & compounds 29 .91 30
Nickel & compounds 700 140 840
Oxides of Nitrogen 16,000,000 16,000,000
Particulate Matter 10.0 um 3,400,000 3,400,000
Particulate Matter 2.5 um 2,000,000 2,000,000
Polychlorinated dioxins and furans (TEQ) 0.00034 0.00034
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (B[a]Peq) 14 14
Sulfur dioxide 20,000,000 20,000,000
Sulfuric acid 31,000 31,000
Total nitrogen 19,000 19,000
Total Volatile Organic Compounds 18,000 18,000
Total Phosphorus 4,600 4,600
Xylenes (individual or mixed isomers) 64 64
Zinc and compounds 1,300 600 1,900

Plant Details

  • Sponsor: EnergyAustralia Pty Ltd
  • Parent company: CLP Group
  • Location: Yallourn, Victoria, Australia
  • Coordinates: -38.177284, 146.3442097 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Gross capacity: 1,480 MW (Units 1 & 2: 360 MW; Units 3 & 4: 380 MW)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • In service: 1973-75 (Units 1 & 2); 1981-82 (Units 3 & 4)
  • Coal type:
  • Coal source:
  • Source of financing:

See Yallourn W power station - National Pollutant Inventory data for 2008/2009

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. TRUenergy, "About TRUenergy", TRUenergy website, accessed August 2010.
  2. The Climate Group, Greenhouse Indicator Series: Australian Electricity Generation report 2007 – 2010, The Climate Group, October 2011, page 21. (Pdf)
  3. EnergyAustralia, "Energy Australia: Business Update", October 24, 2012, page 10.
  4. CLP Group, "Yallourn power station and mine", CLP Group, accessed September 2010.
  5. 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 7. (Pdf).
  6. EnergyAustralia, "Energy Australia: Business Update", October 24, 2012, page 9.
  7. EnergyAustralia, "Changes to Renewable Energy Target required for a sustainable electricity market", Media Release, October 17, 2013.
  8. Daniel Palmer, "A tale of two coal plants", Climate Spectator, January 11, 2013.
  9. David Rood and Tom Arup, "Yallourn's hand up for shutdown", The Age, July 28, 2010.
  10. "Contract for Closure negotiations cease", Media Release, September 5, 2012.
  11. Victoria may extend Yallourn coal licence despite zero-emissions pledge, The Guardian, Jan. 15, 2018
  12. 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.
  13. Australian Government, "An overview of the Clean Energy Legislative Package", Clean Energy Future website, accessed January 2013.
  14. Energy Security Council, "About the Council", Energy Security Council website, accessed January 2013.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 EnergyAustralia, "Energy Australia: Business Update", October 24, 2012, page 20. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "EA1" defined multiple times with different content
  16. Matt Chambers, "EnergyAustralia puts gas-fired plant on hold", The Australian, December 28, 2012.
  17. Tom Arup, "Gas-fired power plant put on hold", Sydney Morning Herald, December 27, 2012.
  18. Jessica Chambers, "Grassfires contained", Latrobe Valley Express, January 7, 2013.
  19. Yallourn fire flares, Latrobe Valley Express, Feb. 8, 2018
  20. National Pollutant Inventory, "2010/2011 report for TRUENERGY YALLOURN PTY LTD, TRUenergy Yallourn - Yallourn North, VIC", Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, March 2012.

Resources

External links