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EPA Director authorises Hydro Tasmania's proposal for diesel power generators at Catagunya

04 March 2016

The Director of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) announced today that he has authorised Hydro Tasmania to commence its use of diesel power generators at Catagunya power station.

The proposal by Hydro Tasmania was for the temporary operation of 24 1MW diesel generators at Catagunya Power Station in response to the current energy supply problems resulting from low lake levels and the failure of the Basslink Interconnector.

EPA Director, Wes Ford said that Hydro Tasmania’s referral to the EPA Board was a requirement under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994, since the proposed use was defined as a Level 2 activity due to the burning of diesel fuel. The authorisation by the Director was made according to provisions of the Act to enable the activity to proceed.

Mr Ford explained that he had made his decision under a provision of the Act which was expressly designed for this type of urgency. He said that Hydro Tasmania plans to commission generators from 7 March and that the statutory timeframes required for the completion of a full assessment would preclude this happening.

“The authorisation is based on my belief that further delays in generating power would pose a greater threat to the environment and property,” said Mr Ford.

“The EPA has been aware of Hydro Tasmania’s proposal for the use of diesel generators since mid-January, knowing that the current situation poses an exceptional circumstance.

“EPA scientific specialists have been working with Hydro Tasmania staff in modelling air and noise emissions from the diesel generators but further assessment work will be undertaken over the coming months,” said Mr Ford.

A copy of the Emergency Authorisation, which contains the EPA's conditions, along with the project proposal and supplementary documentation, are provided below:

Hydro Tasmania - Emergency Authorisation March 2016

Hydro Tasmania - Project Proposal Catagunya Supplementary Diesel Generation

Hydro Tasmania - Catatgunya Site Working Document - Stakeholder Engagement Plan Feb 2016 (privacy protected)

Hydro Tasmania - Appendix D - Air Quality Report

Hydro Tasmania - Appendix E - Noise Assessment