News | 13th Jun, 2011

Station challenge threat

Monday, 13 June 2011
Jarrod Whittaker, Latrobe Valley Express

The development of a proposed Latrobe Valley power plant could be delayed following the launch of a legal challenge against the project by environmental groups. 

Environment Victoria and City of Port Phillip-based climate action group Locals Into Victoria's Environment lodged an appeal with Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal against the Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to grant approval to HRL's proposed dual-gas plant.

Last month the EPA granted approval for the construction of a 300 megawatt dual-gas plant near Morwell, which was half the size of HRL's original proposal.

The dual-gas plant would have a greenhouse emissions intensity of 0.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, compared to Hazelwood's equivalent GEI of 1.4.

Environment Victoria campaigns director Mark Wakeham said the appeal was lodged after the group's legal team advised the challenge had "merit".

Mr Wakeham said the group had concerns about the definition of best practice used to approve the project and if the project went ahead it could compromise efforts to cut greenhouse emissions.

"If this power station proceeds it will make it very hard to meet Victoria's legislated targets to meet emission cuts of 20 per cent by 2020," Mr Wakeham said.

He said the challenge was part of a strategy to prevent the construction of the plant and said the group would "take whatever action is required" to prevent it going ahead.

"I think the project is extremely fragile – it's been over-promising and under-delivering for years now and as yet has no finance," he said.

He expected the challenge would receive a directions hearing in the next six to eight weeks before a date was set for it to be heard.

The Express attempted to contact HRL for comment but did not receive a response by time of publication.

Read more about our campaign for no new coal power in Victoria

Read our response to the EPA's announcement