A proposal to construct and operate a new gas-fired power station at a Pilbara mine has been recommended for environmental approval, subject to conditions supporting the proponent's commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has completed its assessment of a proposal by Pilbara Energy Generation Pty Ltd (PEG) for a new 165MW power station – the first under the EPA’s new greenhouse gas emissions guidance released in April this year.
PEG is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Fortescue Metals Group. EPA Chair Dr Tom Hatton said that for this assessment, the EPA looked at the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life of the project and also the potential impacts on air quality from other particulates including dust.
“As per the EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions guidance, we have recommended that PEG be required to publicly report on its progress towards meeting the emission reduction targets outlined in its greenhouse gas management plan,” Dr Hatton said.
“The EPA understands that the PEG proposal is part of an overall strategy by Fortescue Metals Group to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 across its existing operations, which represents a significant contribution to the international net-zero by 2050 target. The EPA strongly supports the proponent in its endeavours to deliver on this strategy.”
The Greenhouse Gas Management Plan recommended as part of the environmental conditions will require PEG to commit to a two per cent year-on-year net greenhouse gas emission reduction up to 2030 and a net zero position by 2040.
“In coming to its conclusion, the EPA acknowledged that while it will not always be clear exactly how proponents are going to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, the purchasing and retiring of carbon offsets is an acceptable method for delivering on long-term commitments,” Dr Hatton said.
The PEG Power Station will be situated at the Solomon Iron Ore Mine Site, about 60 kilometres north of Tom Price and will supply power to the Pilbara Generation Project. The proposal includes 14 gas-fired reciprocating engines with a combined maximum installed capacity of 165 MW and is expected to emit more than 670,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year.
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing 2 September 2020. Appeals can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au.
The Minister for Environment will make the final decision on the proposal. EPA Report 1686 Pilbara Energy Generation Power Station is available at https://www.epa.wa.gov.au/epa-assessment-reports.
EPA Media Contact: Jayne Rickard on 0400 866 450