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Vales Point extension a line in the sand, says climate groups.

15th July 2023 

A coalition of groups fighting to secure a liveable future for the planet has today criticised in the strongest possible terms an attempt to extend the life of the Vales Point Power Station, owned by Sev.en Global Investments and operated by Delta Electricity.  

Documents released by the Australian Energy Market Operator, and published by Renew Economy, reveal that closure is now scheduled in 2033 instead of 2029.  

“This would make it almost impossible for NSW to reach its emission reduction targets,” Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales CEO Jacqui Mumford said today.  

"Between 2017 and 2022 this power plant averaged 6.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year. That’s equivalent to the emissions from 2.2 million cars – over half the entire passenger vehicle fleet in NSW” Mumford continued.  

“The most recent NSW Government emissions projections claimed that emissions from the entire electricity sector would be 9.6 million tonnes of carbon in 2030. If this extension goes ahead, Vales Point would therefore account for 70% of NSW's electricity emissions.”  

“It's incredibly disappointing that the community hasn’t even been asked if they want such an extension. Instead, the decision to dramatically increase NSW’s emissions was quietly included in AEMO documents.” 

“We know that Sev.en has been lobbying the government to extend the life of this plant since they acquired it earlier this year.  And why wouldn’t they - the exemptions granted to this powerplant are a bonanza for a company willing to profit from causing serious harm to our climate and human health.” 

“In the Czech Republic where Sev.en are based, they would be required to pay $3.805 billion Euros (AU $6.21 billion) for the negative impact these 26.8 million tonnes of carbon will have on our society and planet.”  

“Instead, they pay next to nothing and are exempt from air-quality regulations that require power stations to reduce their emissions of toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx). NOx emissions are a known contributor to respiratory illnesses including asthma in children.” 

"I call on the NSW Government to rule out any support to keep Vales Point operating longer than 2029. In an era of increasing climate catastrophe, we cannot allow such reckless disregard for our future” Mumford concluded. 

Jocelyn McGarity, Lawyer at Environmental Justice Australia said any decision to extend the life of Vales Point would fly in the face of overwhelming health data and the best interests of the community.       

“Vales Point should not be given any support from the NSW Government to remain open for longer – and it’s vital that the NSW EPA better regulates toxic pollution from all coal power stations,” McGarity said.

“The exemption granted to Delta Electricity from NSW’s clean air laws should not be renewed past October 2024. Sev.en should be required to upgrade its old and dirty coal power station to properly protect the community from toxic pollution for the next nine years.” McGarity said.

Jo Lynch, from the Hunter Community Environment Centre said that an expansion of coal mining required to fuel this power plant would not be welcomed by the community. 

“Subsidence caused by mining has a direct impact on the ecology living at the bottom of the lake bed. Decreasing light penetration places yet further strain on sensitive seagrass beds and the aquatic species that rely on them.” Lynch said. 

The cumulative impacts of Vales Points thermal pollution and the existing underground coal seams has severely degraded this ecology, and an expansion risks further destruction” Lynch concluded. 

 

Statement ends 

Media contact: Clancy Barnard 

E: [email protected]  Ph: 0438 869 332 

 

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