Yallourn Coal Power Plant was a complex of six brown coal fuelled power stations built progressively from the 1920s to the 1960s. Located in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, the complex was situated beside the Latrobe River, with the company town of Yallourn located to the south west. Today only the 1,450 MW Yallourn W plant remains, the third largest power station in Victoria which supplies 22% of state's electricity and 8% of National Electricity Market needs. The adjacent open Yallourn brown coal mine is the largest open cut coalmine in Australia, with reserves to meet the projected needs of the power station to 2032.

Yallourn A, B, C, D and E

Power generation at Yallourn Coal Power Plant was first proposed in 1919 when the State Government appointed a committee to investigate the use of coal from the Latrobe Valley. The plant was operated by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, and the first sod was turned at the Yallourn Power Station site in 1921. Along with the power station, the town of Yallourn was constructed nearby to house workers of the plant. Coal was moved from the open cut mine to the power station by the Yallourn 900mm Railway, a narrow gauge electric railway running along temporary tracks in the mine. The Morwell Interconnecting Railway was later provided to the Morwell power station and briquette works for the transfer of Yallourn coal to the briquette works, as Morwell mine (now called Hazelwood mine) coal did not briquette satisfactorily.

In the complex, Yallourn Coal Power Plant A was the first plant opened, with Yallourn B entering service on 11 April 1932. Yallourn A was demolished in 1968, and Yallourn B following in the early 1970s. Yallourn C, D and E stations were commissioned in 1954, 1957 and 1961 respectively, and provided the bulk of Victoria's power until Hazelwood Power Station became operational in the mid 1960s.

Yallourn Coal Power Plant E station ceased generating power in January 1989, with C, D and E plants being demolished from 1995 onwards, with the site being cleared by 1999. The narrow gauge railway in the mine was replaced by conveyor belts in 1984, and the Morwell Interconnecting Railway was replaced by road haulage in 1993.

Briquette factory

In conjunction with the power station, the open cut mine also fed a briquette factory operated by the SECV. The first stage of the factory came into operation in November 1924 with a capacity of about 400 tons per day, with a major extension approved in 1927 and completed early in 1931 increasing the capacity to 1200 tons per day. Using German technology, the factory also generated electricity, with a maximum output of approximately 10 MW it produced 220 MWhr daily, of which about 50 MWhr was used in the factory and 170 MWhr was fed into the state grid. The plant closed in 1970, after the discovery and reticulation of natural gas in Victoria which lead to the closure of the major Lurgi briquette gasification plant in Morwell. Remaining demand for briquette was met by the Morwell briquette factory that was opened in 1959 and which is still open today.

Yallourn Coal Power Plant W

The current Yallourn Coal Power Plant W power station was built in the 1970s at Yallourn West. In 1969 it was announced that the town of Yallourn would be demolished to enable an expansion of the coal mine, with demolition commenced in the 1970s and completed by 1982. Yallourn W power station was the first Victorian generating entity to be privatised in 1996 when it was sold to Hong-Kong based CLP. The plant currently operates under the TRUenergy brand.

With the coal supply from Yallourn's East Field mine expected to be exhausted in 2007, work commenced on a diversion of the nearby Morwell River five years ago to grant unimpeded access to further coal sources from the Maryvale coal field. Without this, the power station potentially faced significant modification or even closure. The Morwell River Diversion, and the access to coal supplies it allows, will ensure Yallourn can continue to operate until 2032. The 3.5 km diversion was constructed over five years with an investment of A$122 million, and came in on time and on budget.

Recently, the station's name was shortened to be just "Yallourn Power Station". In late 2007, a subsidence in the mine wall resulted in the Latrobe River bursting through, damaging coal conveying plant and flooding low levels of the mine. Urgent earthwork repairs were made with the co-operation of other power generators. Coal production was limited for some weeks.

Carbon Monitoring for Action estimates this power station emits 11.50 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year as a result of burning coal. The Australian Government has announced the introduction of a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme commencing in 2010 to help combat climate change. It is expected to impact on emissions from power stations. The National Pollutant Inventory provides details of other pollutant emissions, but, as at 23 November 2008, not CO2.