Loy Yang Power Station: Environment

As a major power generator and mine, AGL Loy Yang recognises it has a significant responsibility to manage the environmental impacts of its operation.

AGL Loy Yang conducts its business in a way that reduces, as far as practicable, the environmental impact of its operation.

AGL Loy Yang pursues efficiency improvements across its business and works in cooperation with numerous organisations, government departments and industry partners to reduce its carbon footprint.

An Environment Review Committee, including community and regulator representatives, meets quarterly to evaluate AGL Loy Yang’s environmental performance.

AGL Loy Yang’s Mine Sustainability Report for 2017/2018 financial year report (PDF) has been prepared to comply with a notice received under section 26 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 and includes sections on environmental management, rehabilitation, and communication engagement.

EPA Licence

AGL Loy Yang is situated in the Latrobe Valley, approximately 165 kilometres east of Melbourne. AGL Loy Yang holds an Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Licence (11149) for the operation of the Loy Yang A Power Station and the adjacent Loy Yang brown coal mine. The EPA Licence contains detailed conditions regulating environmental impacts from Loy Yang A Power Station and the Mine. The EPA Licence specifies limits on the allowable discharges to the air and water environment, along with strict environmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

AGL Loy Yang’s EPA Licence.

Details of the EPA Licence are as follows:

  • Licence Number: 11149
  • Licensee: AGL Loy Yang Pty Ltd
  • Premises Address: Bartons Lane, Traralgon VIC 3844

Further information is available via the EPA Portal.

Map of the AGL Loy Yang site.

Environmental monitoring and compliance

AGL Loy Yang’s emissions to air from the Power Station result from the combustion of coal to produce electricity. The products of coal combustion include sulphur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and particles.

AGL Loy Yang has four generating units. Discharge points 1-4 are the corresponding power station unit stacks. Each unit (discharge points 1-4) is fitted with a Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS) for sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and particles.

Via the CEMS, Power Station Unit Operators have access to a continuous display of Power Station emissions. Utilising the output from CEMS a framework of control panel alarms and corresponding operational responses ensures compliance with the EPA Licence air emission limits. For example, generation offloading (reduction in production output) is initiated generally upon reaching 80% of an applicable EPA Licence limit.

Summaries of compliance with EPA Licence limits for sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and particles are provided below. There may be differences when comparing the information reported on a daily basis and the information reported in the monthly report. Apparent non-compliances may be the result of instrument calibration, an instrument failure, or an error in the data transfer process. The data validation process at the end of each month, which involves checking the accuracy and quality of the data, will identify these and they will be explained in the monthly report.

If you have any questions regarding the information presented, please contact AGL Loy Yang via lymonitoring@agl.com.au.

Environmental reporting is available below:

Pathway for the gradual decarbonisation of our generation

In April 2015, AGL revised its Greenhouse Gas Policy which presented a pathway for the gradual decarbonisation of our generation portfolio by 2050 along with a commitment not to extend the operating lives of our existing power stations. This means that the Liddell power station is the first scheduled power station to close in 2022 with Bayswater and Loy Yang to cease operation in the 2030s and 2040s.

For more information read:

Environment, planning and heritage

AGL Loy Yang has thorough knowledge of the planning, environment, and heritage requirements associated with the RL2015 area, and will consider these for any mine expansion or project development. Investigation will follow the following steps:

Exploration work planning

An environmental management plan will be developed to inform any exploration and base line monitoring activities and will be incorporated into the work program.

Native Title

Discussions will be held with Native Title owners prior to any exploration on Crown Land and an agreement will be sought for the Retention Licence.

AGL Mining Licence

AGL Loy Yang holds Mining Licence 5189 in the Loy Yang Coal Field, to the southeast of Traralgon, Victoria. 
 
The open cut operations of the AGL Loy Yang mine are covered by this licence. The Loy Yang A and B power stations are located on an area excluded from the licence. 
 
The AGL Loy Yang Partnership currently owns the mine, which provides coal to the 2200 MW Loy Yang A Power Station (owned by the AGL Loy Yang Partnership) and the 1050 MW Loy Yang B Power Station (owned by Alinta) and other minor customers. The power stations currently fed by the Loy Yang Mine provide approximately 50% of the total coal-fired electricity generated in Victoria. 
 
The mine operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is currently approximately 200m deep, 4.5km long and 2.5km at its widest point.

In 2018 the Victorian Government granted an extension to the Loy Yang mining licence to 2065.

The extension provides certainty for employees and time to properly rehabilitate the site following closure of the Loy Yang A power station no later than 2048.

In applying for the licence AGL made commitments to the Victorian Government that it will:

  • Continue to invest in the Loy Yang A power station and mine;

  • Provide five years notice of closure of Loy Yang A

  • Market Commission will include in its planned rule change to require three years notice of closure;

  • Continue to work with the Latrobe Valley community and Loy Yang workforce to build the foundations for new opportunities and diversify the economy in the transition towards a carbon constrained future; and
  • Support the transition of the AGL Loy Yang workforce to new opportunities prior to and following closure.

 

Work Plan Variation

Between August and November 2016 extensive community consultation was conducted on the Work Plan Variation which covers areas including community engagement, environmental impacts, fire risk, rehabilitation, operations and transition to closure.

The Work Plan Variation combines a Risk Assessment Management Plan with the Work Plan. All feedback from consultation was carefully considered and some of that was worked into the revised Work Plan Variation.

The most common theme emerging from this consultation related to rehabilitation and the end use concept of the site.

The Draft Work Plan Variation was submitted to the Department in December. The Work Plan Variation can be viewed here (file in excess of 80MB), and feedback can be passed on via the details at the bottom of this page.

AGL Retention Licence RL2015

The former Victorian Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (now the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources) notified AGL Loy Yang on 6 January 2014 that it has been granted priority over the Retention Licence RL2015 covering the Flynn area.

AGL Loy Yang is in a strong position to cater for new coal development opportunities, given its natural advantages in terms of location, flexibility to expand and the extent of works undertaken throughout the life of the mine to date to position itself for future growth. To enable this growth to occur, AGL Loy Yang needs to maintain access to the existing coal resources from within the current Mining Licence Area (MIN 5189) and the area previously held under an Exploration Licence.

AGL Loy Yang has submitted an application to convert the existing Exploration Licence, which abuts to the east of Mining Licence MIN 5189 into a Retention Licence (RL2015).

Download the application area for RL2015.

Retention Licence Work Program

AGL Loy Yang (previously called Loy Yang Power Management Pty Ltd) was granted EL4683 on 14 December 2005 and since that time has worked in accordance with the agreed work plans.

AGL Loy Yang proposes to undertake the following program of work under RL2015:

  • Further exploration work
  • Resource delineation and coal testing
  • Hydrogeological investigation
  • Hydrological studies
  • Geotechnical investigation
  • Project discussions, negotiation and feasibility studies

Precise details of the exploration activity will be provided in a work program for Government approval. The work program will be carried out under an occupational health and safety management plan as well as task specific requirements. No drilling will be undertaken without the required Government approval.

The majority of the work required has already been completed in the Exploration Licence phase and earlier. Any new exploration drilling if deemed necessary would have cores logged and sampled for lignite and other testing. During exploration, site disturbance will be kept to a minimum and disturbed sites will be rehabilitated according to an environmental management plan that will be provided with the draft work program.

Data from existing aquifer depressurisation operating pump and observation bores will provide the basis for modelling in the RL2015 area. The coal resource exploration bores may also be able to be utilised for the monitoring system.

An assessment of the surface hydrology within the RL2015 area will be undertaken utilising rainfall and surface information to identify and aid the development of water management strategies. This study will also inform the interaction between surface water, groundwater and any sensitive wetland areas.

Samples will be taken for testing to ascertain the strength of materials likely to be encountered in the mine and in the mine batters. The material strength, particularly the shear strength, will influence batter angle design. Sampling and testing of materials from these boreholes will examine the following:

  • Strength of overburden materials (to assess mining requirements and provide information for concept design of overburden dumps).
  • Direct shear testing within lignite seams – joint and direct shear testing.
  • Direct shear testing within interseams - direct shear testing.

Since the initial grant of the exploration licence there has been an increasing level of interest from industries wishing to establish in the region and transform raw brown coal to value added products for domestic and export use. AGL Loy Yang is one of the few entities in Victoria with experience in the commercial supply and delivery of brown coal to third parties, and has therefore received many approaches from potential customers.

After the grant of RL2015, AGL Loy Yang will continue to work with project proponents in the development of demonstration and commercial plants utilising improved coal processing technologies able to produce higher value products from brown coal. Project proponents are expected to include proponents for the following types of projects:

  • Coal drying and possibly briquetting;
  • Gasification and further processing to higher grade products;
  • Pyrolysis, producing gases, low volatile solid fuels, and tars;
  • Hydrological studies
  • Hydrothermal dewatering; and
  • Micronised refined coal (MRC).

Prospective project proponents will be expected to complete feasibility studies to confirm the compatibility of any project with AGL Loy Yang resources and sites, and to ensure that any project will be able to meet best practice from an environmental performance perspective.