New $295 million gas power plant for South Australia

AGL will begin construction this week on a new gas-fired power station at Barker Inlet, 18 kilometres from Adelaide’s central business district, due to start operating in the second half of 2019. Around 200 jobs will be created during the construction of the project.

The $295 million, 210-megawatt power station will replace two of the four turbines at the 50-year old Torrens A gas power plant, which AGL plans to progressively shut down from July next year. The four Torrens B gas turbines will continue to operate as normal.

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the new power plant would reduce electricity prices in the state.

“We’re introducing a new generator into the system, and the key to putting downward pressure on prices is more generation,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

AGL chief executive Andy Vesey said the new power plant would help cut power prices in South Australia and provide increased reliability.

“The Barker Inlet power station units will be able to ramp up from zero to full capacity in five minutes, and are 28 per cent more efficient than the Torrens A Station units they will replace,” Mr Vesey said.

“The flexible plant will be in place before other capacity is retired so we can deliver an orderly energy transition.

“As we move towards the staged mothballing of the first two units of Torrens A, we are delivering new investment in modern, fit-for-purpose generation which will supplement and replace the plant coming to the end of its useful life.”

AGL said a key point of the project was having the new power station up and running before the mothballing of Torrens A turbines.

This, AGL said, would help ensure South Australia did not experience supply problems as it did during the recent closures of coal-fired power stations.

“This investment demonstrates AGL’s support for an orderly transition to a carbon-constrained future to avoid dramatic price spikes that the market saw with the unanticipated and sudden exit of Northern and Hazelwood power stations,” AGL said.

“We believe that increasing supply of generation into the market will ultimately put downward pressure on prices.”

It comprises 12 dual fuel reciprocating engines capable of generating around 18 megawatts each. This means they will be able to run on either gas or diesel fuel, should the need arise.

AGL said, “this type of generator driver is better placed to react to the variability observed in the South Australian electricity market.”

AGL also expects the Baker Inlet power station to cut its operational emissions by between 35 to 50 per cent, once it is commissioned.

Source: Fairfax Media