Vales Point power station

NOx emission reduction and exemption decision from 28 October 2022

The EPA has granted a two-year exemption under section 284 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 for the Vales Point Power Station on Lake Macquarie which maintains significantly tightened emission standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx).

The exemption, issued on 28 October 2022, includes

  • a 100th percentile NOx emission limit of 980 mg/m3 
  • a 99th percentile NOx emission limit of 850 mg/m3 
  • the requirement to investigate and report on the causes of NOx emissions when the power station is operating at less than 50% of its capacity and mitigation measures. 

This exemption replaces a licence variation issued in December 2021 which is likely to be legally invalid as Delta Electricity’s licence variation application was made out of time. 

This exemption also supports the State’s need to maintain a reliable and affordable energy supply as the transformation from coal-fired to renewable energy sources occurs. 

Modelling conducted by Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water - Science found that the ground level concentration of NOx in the community meet the national health-based standards. 

NSW Health has advised that any reductions in the concentration of air pollutants is likely to have a health benefit. 

The EPA has a comprehensive and robust framework for regulating power stations in NSW and serious penalties can apply for corporations that breach licence obligations. 

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