Statement: Comprehensive framework in place for regulating power stations

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has a comprehensive and robust framework for regulating power stations in NSW.

Power Stations are required to meet legally enforceable conditions outlined in environment protection licences relating to air, noise, water, waste and land contamination designed to protect the community and the environment.

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 once an environment protection licence is issued, the licence remains in force until it is surrendered by the licence holder or is revoked or suspended by the EPA. The licence is not required to be renewed.

In accordance with the requirements of the POEO Act the EPA reviews environment protection licences every five years. Eraring, Vales Point and Mount Piper licence reviews were completed in late 2018/early 2019.

The EPA has not received any formal notice of a legal challenge from Nature Conservation Council regarding any licensing decisions.

In 2018, prior to the statutory five year review of the environment protection licences, the EPA completed a Review of Coal Fired Power Station Air Emissions and Monitoring involving a comprehensive review of stack emission air quality monitoring and reporting at all power stations.

Overall, this review found extensive compliance.

The review did find some opportunity for continuous improvement and the EPA is working with all of the state’s power station operators to further strengthen licence conditions.

Further information on the reviews and regulation of power stations is available here