Epidemiologist and Doctors for the Environment spokesman Ben Ewald said the health burden from the turbine upgrade was unclear. "If they generate more power from the same coal we will have the same pollution burden... but if they are increasing the plant's power capacity by 40MW why would they not increase power output?," he said. Increased power output means more emissions.
A 40 megawatt upgrade to Vales Point power station's turbine is among a dozen projects the federal government will consider underwriting as part of a pledge to deliver more reliable and affordable power.
As part of the scheme, the government would pay to upgrade each of the Lake Macquarie power station's two turbines by 20 megawatts. Delta bought the power station from the NSW government for $1 million in 2015. It is now valued at $750 million.
Labor climate change and energy spokesman and Member for Charlton Pat Conroy said the government's package of projects amounted to "policy on the run". "This is this government's thirteenth energy policy in the past two-and-a-half years," he said. "There's no firm information, for instance, how much is it going to cost taxpayers?"
Greens climate change and energy spokesperson Adam Bandt said the government should not be spending taxpayer dollars on coal-fired power.
"Any shortlist that includes coal is a shortcut to worse droughts and more bushfires," he said.
"The government shouldn't be upgrading coal, it should be shutting it down."
The Greens will seek to prevent government underwriting of coal when Parliament resumes in April.
Read the full article in Lakes Mail here.