Morwell Power Station Chimneys Toppled

Morwell Power Station chimneys demolished

Image: EBAC Demolition

The two remaining chimney stacks at the former Morwell Power Station (Energy Brix Power Station) in Victoria were successfully brought down on Saturday morning.

Construction of the powdered brown coal burning, emissions-intensive power station and briquette works commenced back in 1949 and electricity production at the plant began in 1956. The facility was finally closed in 2014.

Morwell Power Station was an emissions spewing monstrosity, generating 2.4 – 2.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per megawatt-hour of energy produced. As a comparison, Hazelwood Power Station – considered one of the world’s dirtiest power stations – created around 1.4 tonnes CO2-e/MWh.

Destined for demolition after the closure, Morwell Power Station temporarily dodged destruction after the Heritage Council of Victoria controversially granted it heritage listing in 2018. Its brief reprieve ended in June the same year, when the Heritage Council gave permission for the power station’s owners to proceed with demolishing it.

In keeping with its toxic reputation right to the end was the complication of 10,000m3 of asbestos that needed to be removed from the site.

After the bunker house was collapsed in late December, the last remaining structures were two 94-metre chimney stacks. No explosives were to be used to bring them down, instead a structural pull-over technique. EBAC Remediation General Manager Barry Dungey said the exercise went to plan, with the first chimney stack collapsed just before 8am on Saturday and the second approximately two hours later.

“All building collapses on our site have occurred exactly as planned with safety our priority,” he said.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of March.

Coal Power In Victoria Today

There are just three coal fired power stations still operational in Victoria, but they pack a powerful emissions punch.

  • Loy Yang A: 2,200 megawatts – 1.17 tCO2-e/MWh
  • Loy Yang B: 1,050 megawatts – 1.14 tCO2/MWh
  • Yallourn: 1,480 megawatts  – 1.33 tCO2/MWh

All brown coal burners, Yallourn is scheduled for closure in 2032 at this point, Loy Yang B in 2046 and Loy Yang A in 2048.

In November last year, Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) was close to finishing up its review of operating conditions for the plants, a process that had taken more than three years. The last update from the EPA noted its assessment report was expected to be released in “early 2021”.

An update from Environment Victoria last week stated the new licences are to be released this month.

According to Environment Victoria, the three power plants collectively produce 41 percent of Victoria’s total emissions, sending 112,000 tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere every day. Other problematic emissions are coarse particles (PM10), fine particles (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and mercury. Added to all that is another toxic waste product from burning coal – the ash.

The Victorian Government has set a long-term target for the state of net zero emissions by 2050. The Victorian Premier and the state’s climate minister must also set interim targets for the years 2025 and 2030. Announcement of the interim targets has been delayed by COVID, but are now expected within weeks. Depending on the nature of the targets, it could pile on extra pressure for Victoria’s remaining coal plants – particularly Yallourn – to close earlier than anticipated.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. DISGUSTING, I have relatives in the Morwell area, Health conditions are terrible in that area due to the coal power station, with effects on people that will cause them problems for decades to come.
    If any politician wants to burn coal, they and their family should go live next to the power station.

  2. It gets worse for the Morwell environment with a battery recycling facility being proposed for Hazelwood North next to Morwell

Speak Your Mind

*

GET THE SOLARQUOTES WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
%d bloggers like this: