Delta Electricity, the operator of the Vales Point Power Station, has welcomed the decision of the EPA to seek public submissions on the application to extend its current Group 2 classification for the purposes of the emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
Vales Point NOx emissions are similar to other NSW power generators and claims that Vales Point has the highest emissions are untrue and discredited by actual data.
In making the application Delta is seeking to be treated consistent with other Power Stations in New South Wales. Because the Power Station was built in 1978 it is classified as Group 5 under the Clean Air Regulation, while Power Stations such as Bayswater and Mount Piper, commissioned in the 1990's, are classified as Group 3. The NOx emissions from Vales Point power station are well below the licence limit and the requirement to apply for an exemption is due to the Power Station's commissioning date, not because it has high emission levels.
Delta’s Environmental Protection Licence (EPL) was renewed by the EPA in July 2020 after considerable input from the community and other groups. The limits for emissions such as of oxides of nitrogen have already been tightened as part of this renewal process. Delta continues to comply with these reduced limits and further work will be undertaken in upcoming maintenance outages to replace burner tips which will result in even lower NOx emissions.
Power Stations are licensed and highly regulated, with significant oversight by the EPA. Delta is open and transparent about its environmental data, which is posted on Delta’s website monthly for all to see. Delta has also agreed to make its application public.
Independent EPA analysis consistently shows that air quality on the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie is very good and amongst the best in New South Wales. It also concludes that levels of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide easily meet National Standards. Specifically, monitoring has shown that NO2 concentrations were either very good or good at all times. Similar to all Power Stations, the Vales Point Power Station stack is 178 metres tall and designed to quickly disperse flu gasses into the higher atmosphere. EPA Air Quality assessment shows that the greatest level of emissions come from ground level sources such as motor vehicles and off-road plant (82.5% for Sydney and 77.3% for Newcastle).
Delta welcomes public debate based on facts. Unfortunately some activist groups seek to create misinformation as part of campaigns to close coal-fired power stations. Many of the claims by these groups do not withstand scrutiny when tested by rigorous peer review or are discredited by independent publicly available data.