Power station revived for Latrobe Valley

A tribunal decision has revived a proposal for a new 600MW coal-fired power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

The ruling has removed earlier restrictions that were placed on the size of the plant, however, the proposed new plant’s future is still not assured due to a lack of financial backers.

Energy company HRL wants to build the power station but last year the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) approved a plant of only half the size that the company had planned.

But in late March, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) overturned the EPA’s decision and backed the original application, in a decision that could breathe new life into the project.

Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said environment groups were deeply disappointed with the VCAT outcome and were considering a Supreme Court appeal.

“We disagree with the interpretation of the law in this case, and cannot see how a new coal-fired power station can possibly be seen as ‘best practice’ for the industry sector of electricity generation. There are genuinely clean alternatives on the table and ready to go in Victoria,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

The VCAT decision is conditional on the closure of a similar-sized coal fired plant in Victoria, which has already been flagged under the Federal Government’s carbon tax package.

HRL would not comment on VCAT’s decision but has previously struggled to secure finance other than $150 million from the state and federal governments.

The Victorian Energy Minister said government money was still on the table if HRL could secure other investment.