June 24, 2021

Works continue this week at EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn mine in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley to seal cracks in the Morwell River Diversion (MRD) wall that appeared following the recent heavy rainfall event.  

Energy Executive, Liz Westcott, said: “We received more than 30 times the standard volume of water in recent weeks. While the Morwell River Diversion is stable, it remains vulnerable.

“The repairs we’ve been undertaking are temporary. Due to the weather, we now estimate they will be finished by next week.

“With support of the Victorian Government following the declaration of an energy emergency, we continue to look at ways to relieve pressure around the impacted area so that we can complete the damage assessment and pursue critical longer-term repairs of the Morwell River Diversion. There is an enormous amount of geotechnical and engineering work that accompanies these proposals.

“Our approach will meet the requirements set by the state government and Environment Protection Authority. It’s important the community has confidence we are caring for the surrounding environment,” she said.

Liz said mining continues in an area away from the region of concern. Meanwhile, rigorous safety assessments are finalising when mining activity can resume in the main Maryvale mine, following an exclusion zone that was established.

“Currently, Yallourn continues to operate on minimum generation through one unit. This has occasionally been increased to two units and that’s helped meet the evening energy peak.

“We will continue to selectively mine parts of our fields, with a view to ramp this up only where it’s safe to do so. Our Yallourn workers between the plant and mine are doing a marvellous job – we can’t thank them enough.

“In everything we do, the broader community can be reassured that we are in constant contact with government, regulators and unions from a safety and environmental perspective, and work is always conducted according to strict requirements. 

“Separately, we continue to update the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). They maintain there is enough power supply to meet demand in Victoria.” 

Yallourn power station’s usual generation capacity is up to 1480 MW and typically supplies about 20 per cent of Victoria’s electricity demand, or eight per cent of the National Electricity Market.  

EnergyAustralia estimates that the average daily flow rate of water through the Morwell River Diversion is more than half a gigalitre, which is equivalent to over 200 Olympic-size swimming pools. On 11 June 2021, the average daily flow rate swelled to about 17 gigalitres or about 6800 Olympic-size swimming pools.  

EnergyAustralia appreciates the strong support provided by the Government and the Latrobe Valley community.