Goal: Provide South Australia with a government-owned source of emergency electricity generation.
The State Government will build its own gas-fired electricity generator.
Due to the lack of clear national policy settings, investment in new thermal generation has stalled.
The generator will provide up to 250 megawatts of generation, which can be switched on in times of emergency.
At all times, the generator will make South Australia’s electricity supplies more secure by offering the inertia that is needed to stabilise local supplies.
This generator is a strategic future asset to unlock economic growth once the appropriate national energy policy settings are implemented.
The government will go to tender shortly to have the generator in place as soon as possible.
Temporary energy security measure
In the intervening period, the State Government will work with South Australia’s transmission and distribution companies to provide up to 200 megawatts of temporary generation.
This will provide generation for use over short periods in emergency situations where extreme peaks in demand create a shortfall that cannot be met in other ways.
LATEST NEWS - August 1, 2017
Long-term back-up power plant to be delivered before summer
The long-term back-up electricity power plant will be installed ahead of summer, delivering greater capacity than originally planned, as part of the Government’s plan for South Australia to take charge of its energy future.
Rather than just procuring temporary generators, the Government will purchase nine new GE TM2500 aero derivative turbines through APR Energy, providing up to 276 MW of generation to the grid when required.
The hybrid turbine power plant will initially be installed at two locations, the Adelaide Desalination Plant at Lonsdale and at the General Motors Holden site at Elizabeth, operating on diesel fuel over the next two summers, before being relocated to a permanent location as a State-owned power plant operating on gas.
The State-owned power plant will be able to generate more power than the 250MW originally outlined in the energy plan.
While operating on diesel at the temporary locations the power plant will emit 25 per cent less CO2 per megawatt hour than the former Northern Power Station. Once operating on gas, they will be more efficient than Torrens Island Power Station.
GE’s TM2500 units are cleaner and quieter than competitors in the market including diesel reciprocating engines, producing up to 94 per cent lower nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions, significantly less particulate matter and up to 20 per cent less noise.
The power plant will be tested monthly and only dispatched to the grid when required to prevent an electricity supply shortfall.
The costs will be met within the overall $550 million budget of the energy plan. The power plant is being supplied by APR Energy following a competitive tendering process conducted by SA Power Networks and have a lifespan of about 25 years.
On February 8 2017, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) chose to switch off power to South Australians rather than switch on available generators. The event demonstrated that South Australians could no longer rely on the privatised national market.
The State Government responded, announcing a plan to put downward pressure on power prices and improve grid security. The implementation of the energy plan is on track, with several key measures already implemented or underway.
The State Government has introduced new powers to direct available generators to turn on at short notice in emergency situations, and Tesla and Neoen will construct the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in SA.
The battery will operate at all times providing stability services to the grid, which both Tesla and Neoen have said will lower power prices for South Australians.
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