Power proposal targets demand

IN response to a recent energy demand and capacity forecast report, TRUenergy has altered its plans for the proposed 1000 megawatt gas-fired power station at Yallourn.

The Australian Energy Market Operators, National Electricity Forecasting Report, released in June, influenced TRUenergy to modify their $1.8 billion Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station proposal to an open cycle gas turbine, to target the greater demand.

TRUenergy is proposing to now develop the project as an initial Open Cycle Gas Turbine power station with two units that can be converted into a 1000MW CCGT when there is the demand in the market.

The move aims to give TRUenergy greater flexibility in altering generation capacity dependent on the demand following the AEMO report which revealed a fall in CCGT baseload generations capacity.

TRUenergy thermal generation manager Graham Dowers said the electricity market requirements could be better managed through a staged approach, starting with an initial OCGT stage, which could accommodate fluctuations in electricity demand with the option to move to CCGT in line with market demand.

The company recently requested agreement from the Department of Planning and Community Development panel to modify and re-exhibit the Environment Effects Statement to assess an OCGT stage.

Initially proposed in 2009, TRUenergy spokesperson Carl Kitchen said the alterations to the proposal would not significantly affect the project’s planning process period.

“We need to go through the permitting phase and then once we have the official clearing and go ahead, we will make a final investment decision,” Mr Kitchen said.

Mr Kitchen explained an OCGT was used for peak demand period, such as summer, and ran less frequently than CCGTs.

The OCGTs can be converted to a CCGT power station by introducing the steam turbine cycle.

However, the AEMO report has forecasted reduced energy use across eastern and south eastern Australia that was likely to result in the deferral of new electricity generation or transmission network investment for years.

The NEFR showed lower industrial energy consumption, significant uptake of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems and consumer response to rising electricity prices were behind a 2.4 per cent drop in annual energy for 2011 to 2012.

“Structural change in the Australian economy is having disparate impacts across the eastern and south eastern states, particularly in the wake of the global financial crisis,” AEMO chief executive officer Matt Zema said.

“We have not seen electricity use drop this much since the National Electricity Market commenced.

“Consumers have responded to price increases and taken advantage of government feed-in tariffs by installing rooftop PV systems and adopting energy efficiency measures, and that has reduced the amount of energy supplied by the electricity grid.

“Investment signals for new large scale electricity infrastructure are muted when compared to a year ago,” Mr Zema said.

The DPCD will advise TRUenergy on its ability to transfer their CCGT proposal to the OCGT and its requirements.

TRUenergy has briefed key stakeholders such as the Latrobe City Council, Department of Primary Industries, Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Environment Protection Authority on its request.

Mr Kitchen said the proposal would not impact on the transmission and gas pipeline planning.