Media Releases | 22nd May, 2014

Anglesea electricity approval ensures continuing pollution

22 May 2014

Environment Victoria has today criticised the Essential Services Commission’s decision to grant an electricity generating licence to the Anglesea Power Station.

The power station has previously sent all its electricity to Alcoa’s aluminium smelter at Point Henry, which will close in September this year. With the anticipated closure of the smelter, Alcoa has been seeking a generation licence for the power station in order to sell its brown coal-fired electricity into the grid.

Environment Victoria’s Safe Climate Campaign Manager, Nicholas Aberle, today said:

“The commission has said that they’re satisfied that the regulatory regime is good enough to promote the long term interests of Victorian consumers. But this is the same regulatory regime that gave us the Hazelwood fire; that gave us the Yallourn mine collapses; and that continues to pollute Anglesea with sulphur dioxide.”

“The ESC has failed to properly consult with the Anglesea community, where over 80% of residents are opposed to the power station. It’s their health on the line. The last thing the children at Anglesea Primary School need is more sulphur dioxide in their lungs.

“The power station at Anglesea is now surplus to requirements with falling electricity demand and an excess of baseload generation. Electricity company AGL has said that there is 9000 MW too much electricity generation in the National Electricity Market. Closing 150 MW of excess capacity at Anglesea should be the first step towards rebalancing and cleaning up Victoria’s imbalanced electricity supply.”

“Without the power station, Anglesea could expect a cleaner future for its residents and for the spectacular surrounds of the Anglesea Heath. “

The Government this week released the latest report from its independent mine stability assessors, the Technical Review Board, which found stability and safety concerns in sections of the Anglesea mine.

“We’ve seen from the Hazelwood fire and from the Technical Review Board’s report that the Government is failing to manage is coal mines safely. With falling electricity demand and a need to retire surplus power generation, here was a great opportunity to solve two problems in one go: close a polluting and unnecessary power station, and improve the air quality for local residents.”

“The ESC’s decision is disappointingly short-sighted,” said Dr Aberle.

For comment:

Nicholas Aberle
9341 8112 / 0402 512 121