An old power station in Adelaide set to be closed could shore up Australia’s electricity grid during summer.
- AGL has held off plans to mothball parts of its gas-fired power station at Torrens Island
- The new Barker Inlet Power Station is due to open by the end of the year
- It is hoped the old station will help prevent outages over summer
Electricity giant AGL was preparing to mothball parts of the 52-year-old gas-fired Torrens Island Power Station, and open the new Barker Inlet Power Station next door.
However, an ongoing outage at the coal-fired Loy Yang A Power Station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley has prompted a rethink.
“We will use our generation portfolio in the adjacent regions of South Australia and New South Wales to support Victorian electricity requirements over the interconnectors,” an AGL spokesperson told the ABC.
“This includes Bayswater and Liddell [in New South Wales], and Torrens Island.
“We are also expediting work on the gas-fired and hydro fleet to shore up their reliability and increase capacity ahead of summer.”
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) would be hoping to avoid a repeat of January’s load-shedding blackout in Victoria, when 200,000 customers lost power in a heatwave.
It told the ABC that a current outage at Loy Yang A, caused by an electrical short, was having no impact on supply.
“AEMO runs supply adequacy projections weekly, and we are in the process of running a range of different scenarios, including delayed return to service and unseasonably hot weather in late November and December,” a spokesperson said.
“We are working closely with all market participants to look at a range of options to deliver the necessary resources to meet the system demands over summer.”
Repairs to Loy Yang A to be completed by mid-December
Earlier this week, AGL’s Doug Jackson said repairing the unit at Loy Yang A would cost the company $57 million.
“A detailed technical analysis on the generator has been completed and the repair will involve what’s known as a full rewind, which will see the replacement of the original coils and copper parts,” Mr Jackson said.
“Most of the work will be done by local providers and is expected to create around 200 local jobs during the outage.
“The expected return-to-service date remains mid-December 2019 and we’re looking at other ways we may be able to increase generation from across our portfolio while these repairs take place.”
Australia’s electricity network is undergoing considerable changes.
Tesla’s battery has been outperforming coal and gas generators. (Telsa Motors: Timothy Artman)
AGL said the uptake of renewables — mainly rooftop solar systems — had caused the energy market to become “peakier”, meaning demand for electricity was more unpredictable.
The new Barker Inlet Power Station, which is expected to open by the end of the year, will be capable of operating at full capacity within five minutes.
South Australia’s giant Tesla battery has been outperforming coal and gas generators, and a second has been built at Lake Bonney in the state’s south-east.