April 3, 2017

350.org calls for urgent action after National Pollutant Inventory reveals toxic pollution soaring at AGL power stations

350.org Australia has expressed deep concern for the health of local residents living near AGL’s ageing coal power stations and called on the company to take urgent action to deal with dramatic pollution increases.

New data released from this year’s National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) reveals a cocktail of toxic pollutants are soaring at AGL’s three coal power stations.

“AGL’s power stations are one of the biggest sources of toxic air pollutants in the country, which are putting residents who live near these ageing coal plants at risk of health impacts,” 350.org Energy Spokesperson, Josh Creaser said.

“At the AGM last year AGL’s chairman assured investors and community members that AGL was taking all ‘practicable measures’ to manage emissions at its power stations. It’s clear from this years results that AGL has a lot to do to reduce the impact of these toxic pollutants on the communities that live near the power stations.

“First order of business for AGL is a plan to close down and clean up Liddell as soon as possible. This plant is well past its used by date and the air pollution from AGL’s Hunter power stations — such as Liddell — can travel as far as the Sydney region.”

In the years 2015-16 AGL produced a total of 260 million tonnes of air pollution.

Toxic emissions from coal-fired power stations accounted for 87% of Sydney’s 187,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, 88% of the 2,324 tonnes of sulphuric acid, 44% of the 267,590 tonnes of oxides of nitrogen, 38% of the 724 kilograms of mercury and 23% of the 2,385 tonnes of PM2.5. Emissions from power stations in the Hunter and Central Coast regions travel as far as Sydney.

Overview of AGL’s power stations:

Bayswater (Hunter Valley)

Despite some minor improvements on last year, over 5 years fine particle pollution has soared with PM10 increasing by over 770% and PM2.5 by 247%.
Bayswater is the largest single source of oxides of nitrogen and the second largest source of sulfur dioxide in the country.

Liddell (Hunter Valley)

Emissions continue to rise at Liddell, NSW’s oldest power station. PM10 is up by 10% on last year, PM2.5 by 6%.
Hydrochloric acid emissions have increased by 303% in just one year.

Loy Yang A (LaTrobe Valley)

Despite producing less electricity in 2015-16, PM2.5 rose by 22% and PM10 by 13%.
Loy Yang is the biggest single source of hydrochloric acid in the country and the fourth largest of PM2.5.