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2008 Shows Success for Anglesea SO2 Management Project

Energy security and efficiency are critical issues for Australia and Australian industry. While coal mined at Alcoa’s Anglesea Power Station and Coal Mine has a high quality heat value when compared to other brown coals used to produce electricity in Victoria, it does contains a higher level of sulphur (around 3%).
Coal, when combusted, creates sulphur dioxide (SO2) and our Anglesea Power Station has been working with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Victoria and members of the local community to understand and improve the management of SO2 emissions for several years.

The reason for this ongoing work is to improve the overall management of SO2 emissions from the power station and ensure compliance with State Environment Protection Policy (SEPP) and EPA guidelines.

As part of the commitments made in the 2006/07 Environment Improvement Plan, we have thoroughly reviewed over 25 options for the improved management of SO2 emissions.

The project is our highest priority environmental initiative for the power station at present. Evaluating individual long-term options for improved SO2 management requires careful balancing of environmental, social and economic implications for both the Anglesea community and our Anglesea and Point Henry operations.

In 2008, a reinvigorated consultation process encouraged interested community members to participate in the project and provide feedback on the options available to us.

A significant part of the Sulphur Dioxide Management Project, is the implementation of an Early Warning Modelling tool which analysed approaching or potential weather conditions and determined the likelihood of a SO2 exceedance of licence limits at ground level.

The tool has enhanced the effectiveness of how power station operators currently manage SO2 emissions through load management systems at Anglesea.

Station operators reduce power generation or load (ie. burn less coal) when our monitoring stations report that SO2 levels have reached a certain threshold.

The early warning modelling tool provides a more proactive system whereby station operators receive daily alerts of approaching weather conditions that are likely to lead to elevated concentrations of the emissions, allowing them to take action well in advance.

The system will continue to be refined by comparing the alerts with the actual results seen on the day.

The program has been highly successful with SO2 remaining below licence limits in 2008.

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Alcoa’s Anglesea Power Station’s Sulphur Dioxide Management Project showed great success in 2008 with no SO2 exceedances for the year.

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Anglesea’s new SO2 early warning system modelling tool gives power station operators advance alerts to take action.