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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 163

Senator Milne asked the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy, upon notice, on 7 November 2008:

In regard to the proposed HRL Limited coal-fired power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley:

(1)   Given the Government has committed $100 million under the Federal Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund to HRL Limited for use towards the proposed ‘clean coal’ power plant in Gippsland: (a) are there any performance benchmarks/conditions on which this grant is contingent in regard to development timelines and technical performance of the facility; if so, what are they; and (b) are these conditions and/or benchmarks explained in government documents; if so: (i) what are the document titles, and (ii) are these documents publicly available; if not, will they become publicly available.

(2)   Has this grant already been provided to HRL Limited.

(3)   Have any contracts been signed with HRL Limited.

(4)   If no contracts have been signed with HRL Limited: will any contracts be entered into with HRL Limited in relation to the $100 million grant; if so, what is the expected timeline for contractual sign-off.

(5)   Apart from the project description as provided in media releases, does the Government have any documentation which contains a more detailed project description; if so, can copies be provided of the documentation and/or the titles.

(6)   Will the project replace any current coal-fired generation or will it be additional.

(7)   Will the plant result in a rise in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

(8)   Where will the project be sited.

(9)   Has community consultation begun in relation to the location of the project; if so, can any relevant process information be provided.

(10)   How much water will the plant use each year.

(11)   (a) What is the estimated water use per megawatt hour and how does such usage compare with existing brown coal generators in the Latrobe Valley; (b) where will this water come from; and (c) will market rates be paid for this water.

(12)   Given that the proponents claim that the project will be 30 per cent less polluting than an equivalent-sized conventional brown coal power station and use 50 per cent less water: will meeting these performance levels be a condition of receiving the $100 million grant from the Government.

(13)   (a) Where else is the Integrated Drying Gasification and Combined Cycle technology in use; and (b) is using this technology meeting the abovementioned performance improvements in relation to water use and pollution output

(14)   Will the project be required to implement carbon capture and storage.

Senator Carr (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) —The Minister for Resources and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:


(a)   Yes, the grant is managed using a milestone schedule contained in the Funding Deed. Payments are dependent on the satisfaction of the milestones.

(b)   The milestone schedule contained in the Funding Deed includes detail concerning the commercial affairs of the recipient and the disclosure of such information could reasonably be expected to unreasonably affect the recipient in its lawful commercial affairs.

(i)   &(ii) This information is not contained in documents other than the Funding Deed milestone schedule. The recipient’s obligations under the Deed include a requirement that the Recipient will prepare reports for dissemination to the public generally providing information on outcomes of significant milestones or on other developments of significance as they occur.

(2)   To date, no grant payments have been made but the executed Funding Deed represents a commitment by the Australian Government to provide the grant.

(3)   Yes, the Australian Government has executed a Funding Deed with the Company for the grant.

(4)   See above.

(5)   A description of the project is available on the RET website at The company has provided the Government with a more detailed description of the project being undertaken. This information concerns the commercial affairs of the recipient and the disclosure of such information could reasonably be expected to unreasonably affect the recipient in its lawful commercial affairs.

(6)   The project will not directly replace any current coal-fired generation.

(7)   The power station will produce greenhouse gas emissions but at reduced rate per MW than existing coal-fired power stations. It is the intent of the project to demonstrate this low emissions technology. A key eligibility criteria for the project receiving support was the potential of the technology to reduce Australia’s energy sector greenhouse gas emissions signature by at least 2 per cent post 2030.

(8)   This project is planned to be sited in the Latrobe Valley.

(9)   The company has advised that it intends to undertake community consultation during the development of the project.

(10)   The company has advised that plant project details are being progressed with design engineers and are subject to site finalisation.


   (a)   Existing brown coal generators in the Latrobe Valley currently use more than 2.1 tonnes of water/MWH and the estimated water use for this project is around 50% less.

   (b)   The water allocation will come from within water storages available for power generation in the Latrobe Valley.

   (c)   Yes.

(12)   No. These performance levels will not be a condition of receiving grant payments. The key objective of the fund under which this project is supported is to demonstrate the commercial potential of new technologies or processes. The specific objective of this project is to demonstrate Integrated Drying Gasification Combined Cycle technology. Broader performance outcomes beyond the demonstration of the technology fall outside the scope of the recipient’s grant obligations.


   (a)   This technology has not previously been demonstrated at commercial scale - which is the intent of this project. Integrated Drying Gasification Combined Cycle technology has been developed by HRL in Victoria for use with wet, reactive coals, such as the brown coal found in the Latrobe Valley.

   (b)   This technology is not currently in use elsewhere.

(14)   No. Carbon Capture and Storage is not an aspect of the funded project, however, HRL is incorporating elements in the plant design to make it Carbon Capture and Storage ready and is working with others including the COCRC to refine technology to integrate Carbon Capture and Storage into the Integrated Drying Gasification Combined Cycle process.