EPA Bulletin 1235 - Geraldton Gas Turbine Station Noise Regulation 17 Variation
Summary: The Environmental Protection Authority has provided advice and recommendations to the Minister for the Environment on Western Power Corporation's application under regulation 17 of the Environmental Protection Noise Regulations 1997 for approval to vary from the prescribed standard noise emissions for the Geraldton Gas Turbine Station.
Release Date: 23 October 2006
Details: The Environmental Protection Authority has provided advice and recommendations to the Minister for the Environment on Western Power Corporation’s application under regulation 17 of the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 for approval to vary from the prescribed standard noise emissions for the Geraldton Gas Turbine Station.
Constructed in 1972 Geraldton Gas Turbine Station is located about four kilometres east of Geraldton, in a semi-rural area and is used to provide emergency backup power for Western Power’s South West Interconnected Grid. Assigned noise levels are only exceeded for a period of some 10 to 20 hours per year. The area of noise exceedance is estimated to extend over a radius of about one kilometre from the station.
Noise regulation 17 provides that “where a person is of the opinion that he or she cannot reasonably or practicably comply with a standard prescribed under these regulations … that person may apply to the Minister for approval to allow the emission of noise in that case to exceed or vary from the standard.”
EPA Chairman Dr Wally Cox said that that significant expenditure on noise reduction is not warranted, given the limited impact of the station on the surrounding area, and provided the operating hours do not significantly increase in the future.
“While noise reduction measures could possibly be implemented to achieve compliance at a cost of about one million dollars, the small numbers of operating hours does not warrant this level of expenditure.
“However, while there have been no complaints received about the Station, it is important that residents should know when and for how long the station may operate for generation or testing purposes
“This could be particularly relevant to new residents moving into the area and it may be appropriate for Verve Energy Corporation to provide relevant information through its mailouts.
“The recommended Approval would permit up to 25 hours of operation above the assigned levels per financial year for power generation and testing purposes with additional hours approved in any one year by the Minister if it was considered reasonably necessary.
“This would allow the Minister to request review of the Approval if requests were being submitted regularly.”
The EPA’s report is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au under ‘EPA Bulletins’.
There is a four week comment period on the contents of this Bulletin, closing 20 November 2006.
Comments should be directed to:
Mr J Macpherson
Locked Bag 104
Bentley DC WA 6983.
An appeal period is specified in the Regulations for two weeks after the Minister for the Environment Gazettes a Regulation 17 Variation.
Appeals are considered by the independent Appeals Convenor (9221 8711). The Convenor prepares a report for the Minister for Environment on any appeals that may be received.
The EPA is a five person board providing overarching independent environmental advice to the Minister for the Environment through the preparation of environmental protection policies and the assessment of development proposals and management plans, as well as providing public statements about matters of environmental importance.
Under the Environmental Protection Act (1986) the EPA has no enforcement role. This role is undertaken by the Department of Environment and Conservation including auditing Ministerial Conditions imposed on proposals assessed by the EPA.
Media contact: Charlie Maling ph 6467 5415 or mobile 0400 866 450.