EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s leading energy retailers, today said legislation passed by the New South Wales parliament would mean the company’s Mt Piper power station near Lithgow could resume generating electricity more freely, helping ease the pressure on electricity prices.
The Environmental Planning & Assessment Amendment (Sydney Drinking Water Catchment) Bill 2017 will secure the immediate future of the Springvale coal mine, the only source of supply for Mt Piper.
EnergyAustralia Executive – Energy Mark Collette thanked the government for a swift resolution to the issue which, if not addressed, would have threatened the reliability and affordability of electricity in the state.
“This is what good policy and real political leadership looks like,” Mr Collette said. “It delivers great results: secure energy supply for families and businesses and a better outcome for the environment.
“Now we’re no longer subject to coal rationing our next job is to roll up our sleeves and return Mt Piper to full service in time for peak summer demand,” he said.
The 1400-megawatt 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, owned by Centennial Coal, support around 600 direct and indirect jobs in and around Lithgow.
In August, the New South Wales Court of Appeal upheld an appeal against the planning consent for the Springvale mine. The action related to the quality of water discharged to local waterways from the mine.
Mr Collette said EnergyAustralia and Centennial Coal can now progress to construction of an over $100 million water treatment plant. The plant will be fully operational by mid-2019.
“The water treatment project will mean there’s no discharge from the mine into river systems, which is a good outcome,” he said.
Mt Piper is already a zero-discharge site. The water treatment plant also ensures Mt Piper will no longer require water from local catchments for the power station’s operations.