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Carl Kitchen 0401 691 342
Apr 03 2022

Plant emissions at five-year low: NPI data shows

The release of the latest NPI data again reveals a drop in emissions from coal-fired generators.

An Australian Energy Council spokesperson said analysis of NPI emissions data for coal-fired power plants shows that over the past five years there has been a fall in NOx, SO2, particulate and mercury emissions (see table below and trend graphs).

And in the past year particulate emissions declined by 4 per cent for PM2.5 emissions and 1.4 per cent for PM10 emissions (this followed a 17.2 per cent drop in PM10 emissions in 2019-20). NOx emissions fell 7.5 per cent in the past year, while SO2 emissions were down 3.1 per cent.

The amount of electricity generated by coal-fired plants was 4.4 per cent lower in the same period.

The AEC’s spokesperson said: “A range of factors can result in noticeable shifts in emissions, particularly year-on-year, such as demand and availability of plant. Year-on-year variations can occur as a result of variability of individual plant performances. Stakeholders should not be distracted by this noise: the important thing the NPI data shows is that across Australia’s coal-fired generation fleet the trendline for emissions continues to go down. This is expected to continue as the energy transition results in a change in the grid’s generation mix.

“Operators continue to focus on meeting their licence limits and minimising emissions where they can. For many of the reported emissions electricity generation is also not the main contributor.

“Take particulate emissions. Natural sources are Australia’s predominant contributor but are not reported in the NPI data. A NSW EPA Air Quality Study for the NSW Greater Metropolitan Region found these sources, such as windblown dust and bushfires, accounted for 60 per cent of PM2.5 emissions, while 40 per cent came from man-made sources, and of those 31 per cent come from wood heaters, 26 per cent from industry, 19 per cent from road transport and only 17 per cent from power stations.”

Reductions in past five years

NOx

-12.5%

PM2.5

-21%

PM10

-23.8%

SO2

-13.2%

Mercury

-39.6%

Source: NPI data

The five year graphs can be found here.

About the Australian Energy Council

The Council represents 20 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in the competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia, sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses, and are major investors in renewable energy generation.

Media contact             Carl Kitchen                0401 691 342

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