Health benefits of reducing Australian coal-fired power stations emissions : Environmental Epidemiology

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Abstracts of the 2019 Annual Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, August 25-28 2019, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Health benefits of reducing Australian coal-fired power stations emissions

M, Mazaheri1,,2; Y, Scorgie3; R, Broome4; G, Morgan2,,4; B, Jalaludin2,,5; M, Riley3

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Environmental Epidemiology 3():p 264-265, October 2019. | DOI: 10.1097/01.EE9.0000608816.02465.cb
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PDS 64: Health impact assessment and environmental justice, Johan Friso Foyer, Floor 1, August 26, 2019, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Although air quality in Australian cities is generally good by international standards, research suggests that substantial health benefits are attainable with even modest reductions in air pollution. The New South Wales (NSW) State Government in Australia is investing in clean energy and energy efficiency, which are likely to result in reducing air pollution exposures.

Currently, coal-fired power stations (CFPPs) account for about 80% of NSW electricity generated and are a major source of ambient air pollution in the Sydney Greater Metropolitan Region.

This work outlines applied health impact assessment methods to quantify the mortality burden due to long term exposure to the population-weighted annual average PM2.5 concentration of 0.15 µg.m-3 attributable to CFPPs emissions (using 2013 as the baseline year), and the mortality benefits of reduced PM2.5 emissions from CFPPs over 2017-2042 due to potential NSW energy efficiency and renewable energy measures compared to a ‘business as usual’ scenario. Medium and large energy demand change scenarios were modelled to assess the impact of potential energy efficiency and clean energy measures on energy demands, CFPPs emissions and associated air quality and health benefits.

The ‘business as usual’ modelling of baseline emissions, air quality and health impacts accounted for the three CFPPs that ceased operation in 2014-2015, announced retirement of CFPPs in 2022-23 and 2035-36, and retirement of a CFPPs in the neighboring State of Victoria in 2017 which influenced NSW power generation.

The central estimate for the mortality burden was 31 premature deaths and 382 years of life lost. Mortality benefits for the medium and large energy demand changes were estimated as 448 and 922 life years gained respectively as a central estimate.

The results illustrate the public health benefits of energy efficiency and clean energy programs which result in a quantifiable increase in the life expectancy of the population.

Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of Environmental Epidemiology. All rights reserved.