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EPA Director authorises proposal for diesel generators at George Town

24 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 its George Town substation.

This proposal by Hydro Tasmania is for the temporary operation of 16 diesel generators at George Town, generating up to 21 MW of electricity for transmission via the existing substation. The containerised diesel generation units and associated infrastructure would be located on land owned by Hydro Tasmania.

The proposal was referred to the EPA as a requirement under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act (1994) as the burning of the diesel fuel is defined as a Level 2 activity. The EPA Director, Wes Ford authorised the activity to proceed under provisions of the Act designed for urgent situations such as this. Mr Ford explained that the timeframe required under a full assessment process would preclude Hydro Tasmania from commencing operation in order to meet the energy demands of the Tasmanian community.

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

“I am satisfied that the proposal contains sufficient information for me to have considered the relevant matters, and to provide an Emergency Authorization with certain conditions.

“The EPA has been in constant communication with Hydro Tasmania regarding its temporary use of diesel generators as part of its State plan in response to the current energy situation.

“This has arisen due to constraints on energy supply, resulting from historically low inflows into Hydro Tasmania’s dams combined with the failure of the Basslink interconnector.

“EPA scientific specialists have been working closely with Hydro Tasmania staff in modelling air and noise emissions from the diesel generators and this work is ongoing,” said Mr Ford.

A copy of the Authorization provided to Hydro Tasmania, which contains the EPA's conditions, along with the project proposal and supplementary documentation, are provided below:

Hydro Tasmania – George Town Substation Generators - Emergency Authorization March 2016

Hydro Tasmania - George Town - Supplementary Diesel Generation Project Proposal

Hydro Tasmania – George Town - Stakeholder Engagement Plan March 2016 (privacy protected)

Hydro Tasmania – George Town - Air Quality Assessment

Hydro Tasmania – George Town - Noise Assessment