Progress dependent on weather

YALLOURN power station’s plans to restore full generation capacity before summer, the state’s peak energy demand period, continue to hang at the mercy of the rain.

In an update on mine and power station operator TRUenergy’s efforts to fully restore mine operations, which were initially shut down when the Morwell River collapsed into the mine in June, a spokeswoman said progress continued to depend on the weather.

This comes after a wet start to August, with almost 40 millimetres of rain recorded in the Latrobe Valley in the first nine days, and after two months of water flooding into the station’s two mines, rates of which have reduced since a partial river-to-river pipeline diversion to the Latrobe River was implemented last month.

“The rain has increased river flows and these are being monitored… while the weather has meant work has slowed down, pumping from both mines is continuing,” the spokeswoman said last week.

“We have been fortunate, that until this week, we’ve had good weather that has allowed workers to make significant progress on decreasing water levels in the mine and installing the full river-to-river transfer pipe and pumps which will be operating later this month.

“The rain is not impacting electricity production, coal stocks remain almost full and the conveyor is continuing to adequately supply coal for three generation units.”

Operation of the power station’s fourth generator depends on the reinstatement of a second coal supply conveyor, efforts which entail relocating it to higher ground.

The spokeswoman said the Australian Energy Market Operator was not recording any issues with the state’s power supply, however calls by The Express to AEMO were not returned by time of going to print. The spokeswoman said a 4.3 magnitude aftershock on 20 July had no impact to cooling water conduit pipelines, which carry the water to and from the cooling tower.

Cracks appeared in the lines after a 5.3 magnitude June earthquake, to which the spokeswoman said repairs had been completed.