EnergyAustralia, one of Australia’s leading energy retailers, said today its electricity generation assets emitted 21.7 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent in 2017/18, unchanged from the year before.
The figures confirmed that CO2 emissions from EnergyAustralia’s generation assets were overall below the baselines determined by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) and were slightly down year on year.
Mark Collette, EnergyAustralia Executive – Energy, said owning and operating big power stations like Yallourn in Victoria and Mt Piper in New South Wales came with the responsibility of leading the development of cleaner forms of energy.
“Our generation assets are a big part of their local communities and supply reliable and affordable energy to households and businesses across eastern Australia,” Mr Collette said. “Right now, those plants are providing stability as we integrate more renewable generation into the system.
“But it’s not acceptable to simply let these plants run,” he said. “For as long as our coal- and gas-fired generation is needed, we’ll continue to invest in the assets and people, so that our operations are as efficient as they can possibly be, and emissions to the environment are managed as carefully as possible.”
Mr Collette said in 2017/18 EnergyAustralia had invested $128 million in maintenance and related works to its power stations, required to maintain generation efficiency. Also, in 2018 the company announced it had completed a program to financially underpin 500 megawatts (MW) of new wind and solar projects around Australia’s east coast.
In the year under review, Scope 1 emissions* from the Yallourn power station fell 8 per cent, compared to the previous year, as a result of more maintenance outages. The company’s carbon intensity factor – a measure of efficiency based on the carbon emitted per MWh of electricity produced – was down by 5 per cent.
Emissions from the recently-acquired Newport and Jeeralang gas-fired power stations in Victoria increased as the assets produced more electricity to meet demand. Carbon intensity also rose as the plants made more cold starts, which require one to two hours of gas burnt for no output.
Mt Piper’s carbon intensity improved slightly with higher generation output.
The emissions data for the company’s power plants in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia were submitted for inclusion in the CER’s latest National Greenhouse and Energy Report. The report, due to be released on 28 February 2019, provides the community, industry and government with information about greenhouse emissions across Australia.
* Scope 1 emissions are released into the atmosphere as a direct result of an activity, or series of activities at a facility. Scope 2 emissions are indirect greenhouse gas emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam. Most scope 2 emissions represent electricity consumption but can include other forms of energy transferred across facility boundaries.
Investing in efficiency:
• In 2018 EnergyAustralia invested almost $10 million in maintenance at the Tallawarra power station in New South Wales including work that allows the combined-cycle gas plant to react more quickly to shortfalls in market supply.
• In 2016 EnergyAustralia completed a maintenance performance program on a generation unit at Mt Piper which now allows the plant to power an additional 70,000 homes without needing to burn more coal. The same program of work is planned for a second unit in 2019.
• In 2015 the company completed a five-year program at Yallourn to enhance the plant’s efficiency. The work allows the power station to provide electricity to the equivalent of an additional 100,000 homes for the same amount of coal.