A fossil fuel plant kept operating despite having no authorisation to do so.
Authorities found production continued for many years without approval at CS Energy’s Callide C coal power station at Mount Murchison, 115km southwest of Gladstone.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) discovered the “alleged breach” while investigating generators and high voltage transmission lines that became tripped during 25 May 2021.
Investigators fined the proponent $67,800 for allegedly contravening section 11(1) of the Electricity Law by operating without being a registered participant or having a valid exemption. The employer eventually received an exemption in September 2023.
The finding alarmed the Mining and Energy Union (MEU), which became concerned that some workers could have died in a catastrophic failure.
“The 2021 Callide C explosion was a very serious event and it is remarkable that no one was killed,” MEU Queensland district vice president Shane Brunker said in a public statement.
“Workers are still rattled from the 2021 explosion and subsequent safety and operational failures. This will shake their confidence in site management even further.”
Brunker hopes management will answer for what he called a lack of “oversight”.
“Someone needs to be held accountable,” he said.