We weren’t supposed to know just yet, but the NSW Government has approved the gas-fired power station project at Kurri Kurri.
An email was sent accidentally yesterday from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to say the application to build a new 660 megawatt gas-fired power station in the Hunter had been approved following “rigorous assessment and consideration of community feedback”.
A spokesperson for the DPIE said the project will have a number of conditions to ensure any potential impacts are appropriately managed including annual limits on how long the power station can operate and requiring ongoing air quality monitoring.
“This project will improve energy reliability and security in the National Energy Market as it brings on renewable energy from wind and solar farms, and transitions away from coal-fired power generation over the next 10-15 years,” the spokesperson said.
“The project will provide on-demand energy when the grid needs it and will only operate on average two percent over a year.”
“It will also inject $600 million into the State’s economy and create up to 250 new construction jobs in the Hunter, so on balance it was decided that the project should be approved.”
“We’ve also required Snowy Hydro to prepare and implement a Net Zero Power Generation Plan to progressively move towards achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions. This may include using hydrogen gas, which would be subject to further planning assessment.”
The power station will be built on part of the former Kurri Kurri Aluminium Smelter which ceased operations in 2012.
The project isn’t across the line yet, it now needs to go to the Commonwealth Government for final approval.
Should it get past that approval construction will start in early 2022 with the plant to be up and running by mid-2023 by the time the Liddell Power Station shuts its doors that same year.
A protest is being held today against the approval of the project.
The Gas Free Hunter Alliance will hold a snap protest at the Luxford Road site at nine o’clock this morning, saying the government has deliberately approved the gas plant just before Christmas in the hope that it will go under the radar.