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NSW Government approves controversial Kurri Kurri gas pipeline

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The controversial Kurri Kurri Lateral Pipeline has been given the green light to proceed.

Despite receiving several public submissions objecting to the project – citing greenhouse gas and climate change impacts, along with effects on biodiversity, traffic and water resources – the NSW Government approved the Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) a few days before Christmas.

The development will supply natural gas from the existing Sydney to Newcastle transmission network to the 660-megawatt power station, currently being built at Kurri Kurri.

It’ll also involve construction and operation of a 21km medium-pressure underground pipeline with operating capacity of up to 60 terajoules (TJ) per day, a buried looping high-pressure gas storage pipeline about 24km in length, a buried steel interconnector pipeline approximately 1.3km and supporting infrastructure, including an offtake facility, delivery and compressor stations.

The storage pipeline is expected to provide up to 70 TJ of gas to the Hunter Power Project at maximum power output for up to 10 hours.

A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Planning and Environment said after weighing up all relevant considerations, the project was deemed to be in the public interest.

“There were a number of key reasons for approving the application,” they explained.

“It will facilitate the benefits of the Hunter Power Project consistent with relevant NSW and Commonwealth strategic policy framework regarding climate change and energy security by providing firming capacity to supplement the increasing supply of renewable energy and contribute to overall system reliability in the National Electricity Market (NEM), as NSW transitions away from coal-fired power generation.

“The project will also deliver economic benefits to the Hunter region, and NSW, by generating a capital investment value of approximately $264 million, creating up to 398 positions at the peak of construction and up to five jobs during operation.

“It has been designed to avoid, minimise and/or offset impacts on the environment and surrounding land users as far as practicable with the proposed alignment.

“All-in-all, the benefits outweigh any residual impacts associated with the construction and operation of the project.”

Meanwhile, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment has also recommended a comprehensive and precautionary suite of conditions in consultation with the key government agencies to ensure the project complies with contemporary criteria and guidelines, and that any residual impacts can be appropriately mitigated, managed and/or offset in accordance with NSW Government statutory requirements, guidelines and policy requirements.

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