The Environmental Protection Agency of New South Wales is investigating claims that one of the Australian state’s largest power stations manipulated monitoring of its coal-fired power units to make them seem lower than actual emissions levels. Only one of the four coal-burning units at the Bayswater power station was only required to report pollution data, and according to reports, plant staff were instructed to supply it with lower sulphur coal while dirtier coal was burned in the other three units.
The company that operates the plant, AGL, did not deny that the previous owner had deliberately blended coal to mask the true emissions of nitrous oxides, sulphur dioxide and other pollutants. A former engineer at Bayswater told journalists that the practice of burning variable quality coal to curb pollution readings had been going on since at least 2000. As a result, the EPA has broadened its inquiry and contacted all currently operating and licensed power stations in New South Wales to find out whether Bayswater and other plants have under-reported emissions in the past or continue to do so. By using cheaper, dirtier coal, it’s possible that the coal plant operator was able to avoid paying the pollution fees and carbon taxes.
– The Sydney Morning Herald (Updated June 2017)