A number of sustainable development projects are currently underway at Mt Piper power station.
EnergyAustralia entered into an agreement with Nu-Rock in 2014 to build a pilot plant that uses fly-ash from Mt Piper power station to manufacture building materials such as bricks, pavers and concrete blocks.
Should the test plant prove successful, Nu-Rock will look to build a larger facility capable of manufacturing these products in a commercial quantity. If these plans proceed, the facility would look to employ up to twenty people and be set to use 250,000 tonnes of Mt Piper’s fly-ash each year.
Pipers Flat Rail Coal Unloader
To make sure we can continue to source the coal needed to operate Mt Piper power station, EnergyAustralia is exploring the option of building a rail coal unloader facility at Pipers Flat.
Today, all of the coal for Mt Piper comes from the nearby Springvale mine. This project would enable EnergyAustralia to source coal from other mines and transport it via rail to the power station. The ability to supplement and diversify its fuel supply will help make sure Mt Piper can continue to operate in future, even if there is an interruption to local coal supply.
The project, which received approval from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in 2009, involves the construction and operation of:
- a rail loop which connects to the main line
- a coal unloader building located on the loop
- a conveyor system which carries coal from the unloader building to the power station
EnergyAustralia is currently re-assessing the project and intends to submit a modification application to the Department of Planning and Environment in August 2018. The application will include a revised design to improve efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts of the development, as well as a request to extend to the required start date of the approval permit.
Our aim is to get an outcome that’s good for the environment and the community, and to ensure no interruption to Mt Piper power station that supplies up to 15 per cent of New South Wales’ electricity demand, the equivalent of 1.2 million homes.
Mt Piper Ash Placement Project
With a generating capacity of around 1400MW, there is a need to provide advanced ash placement to better serve the environment of the Mt Piper region. In 2012 a proposal was put forth to the NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure to create a new ash placement area in Lamberts North. This was approved and construction was completed in May 2013. This will ensure further ash produced from Mt Piper is placed in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Energy Recovery Project
EnergyAustralia and Re.Group are developing a project to augment the 1400-megawatt (MW) Mt Piper power station near Lithgow in New South Wales with lower emissions generation.
The project, an Australian first, involves using non-recyclable plastics, linen and cardboard, known as refuse derived fuel (RDF), in a specifically-designed boiler to create steam.
We plan to submit a full environmental impact statement (EIS) later in 2018 detailing the proposal, the feedback we receive and the project’s potential impacts.
We’re aiming to make a final investment decision in 2019, with first power as soon as 2021.
We’re optimistic energy recovery can form part of a new, modern energy system as big coal plants are progressively retired, alongside wind, solar, battery storage, demand response and pumped hydro technology.