October 9, 2017

EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s largest energy retailers, today welcomed action by the New South Wales government to protect the state’s energy security and deliver long-term improvements to Sydney’s drinking water catchments.

In August, the New South Wales Court of Appeal upheld an appeal against the planning consent for the Springvale mine, the only source of coal supply for EnergyAustralia’s Mt Piper power station near Lithgow. The action related to the formula used to determine the mine’s impact on local waters.

Mark Collette, EnergyAustralia Executive – Energy, said the proposed legislation would secure the immediate future of Mt Piper, one of the state’s newest and most efficient coal-fired plants. It also clarifies the evaluation criteria for water quality for projects in the Sydney water catchment area.

The legislation enabled EnergyAustralia and the Springvale joint venture to deliver a more than $100 million water treatment plant that will make the mine a zero-water-discharge site. The project was endorsed by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority and WaterNSW at a public hearing in Lithgow.

“This is good news for the local community because jobs are protected. This is good news for the environment because no mine water will make its way into local creeks and rivers. And this is good news for the people in New South Wales who depend upon Mt Piper for reliable and affordable electricity,” Mr Collette said.

“Once the legislation is passed by parliament we cease to be affected by coal rationing and we will resume generating electricity more freely, which can only help ease the pressure on electricity prices,” he said.

Mt Piper can supply up to 15% of New South Wales’ electricity demand and is critical to energy system reliability, especially during peak periods over summer. The plant and Springvale mine also support around 600 direct and indirect jobs in and around Lithgow.

“The government is demonstrating that good policy with real political leadership delivers great results: secure energy supply and improved environmental outcomes,” Mr Collette said.