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EPA Director authorises proposal for diesel generators at Bell Bay

The Director of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) announced today that he has authorised Hydro Tasmania to commence use of generators for supplementary energy generation at the Bell Bay Power Station.

This proposal by Hydro Tasmania is for the temporary operation of three 25 MW gas duel fuel turbine generator units at Bell Bay, generating up to 75 MW of electricity for transmission to the Tasmanian electricity grid.

The duel fuel turbine generators and associated infrastructure, including a new medium voltage switchyard, would be installed at the existing Bell Bay Power Station owned by Hydro Tasmania. Although the generators are capable of conversion to gas fuel, this proposal relates to running the units on diesel.

The proposal was referred to the EPA as a requirement under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 as the burning of greater than 1 tonne per hour of 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, explaining that the timeframe required for 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," Mr Ford said.

"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," he said.

"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," 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 - Emergency Authorization - Bell Bay Supplementary Generators

Hydro Tasmania - Bell Bay Supplementary Power Generation Project Proposal

Hydro Tasmania - Bell Bay Air Assessment Report

Hydro Tasmania - Bell Bay Noise Assessment Report

Hydro Tasmania - Bell Bay Stakeholder Engagement Plan