April 4, 2018
Emissions from Tarong Power Station have increased over the past five years because the station has been generating more electricity …
This is the simple explanation from Stanwell countering public criticism which described Tarong on Tuesday as “Queensland’s most polluting coal-fired power station”.
A media release from Environmental Justice Australia said coal-fired power stations were “still Australia’s major source of toxic fine particle pollution”.
It singled out several Australian power stations for special mention, including Tarong.
“Fine particle emissions from Tarong power station, Queensland’s most polluting coal-fired power station, increased 16 per cent during the last year, up 71 per cent in the last five years,” the statement said.
However, Tarong Power Stations Acting Site Manager Darwin Chellachamy told southburnett.com.au the total energy sent out by the Tarong power stations (which comprises the 1400 MW Tarong Power Station and the 443MW Tarong North Power Station) rose by 17.8 per cent on the previous year.
Stanwell placed two 350MW generating units at the Tarong power stations into cold storage in late 2012.
These units were later returned to service: Unit 4 in July 2014 and Unit 2 in February 2016.
While the units were offline, the power stations were not generating as much electricity and therefore emissions were lower in comparison to 2016-17 emissions.
“As a result of the increase in generation to meet demand and the return to service of Unit 2 in February 2016 after two years of cold storage, particulate emissions from the Tarong power stations increased by approximately 14 per cent year on year, as reported in the 2016-17 National Pollutant Inventory,” Mr Chellachamy said.
“In 2016-17, the Tarong power stations increased its generation to meet Queensland’s growing energy demand.
“The Tarong power stations underpin the reliability of the State’s electricity supply.
“The Tarong power stations produce emissions at the current level because they are large generators of electricity for Queensland and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The power stations have generated at higher levels to keep downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices.
“Our goal is to safeguard the well-being of our environment and communities as well as keeping energy affordable.”
A Stanwell spokesperson said Tarong North and Tarong Power Station were two of the most reliable power stations in the country, currently achieving world-class availability of 93.3 per cent and 96.4 per cent, respectively.
As well, Tarong North Power Station was classified as supercritical, making it one of Australia’s most efficient coal-fired power stations.