Major outage underway

All hands are on deck at Loy Yang power station as a seven-week power generation unit maintenance outage reaches its half-way point.

According to a spokesperson for Loy Yang’s new owner, AGL, the $50 million project, which began on 31 August, has 800 Loy Yang and contracted employees performing maintenance, repairs and upgrades to one of its four generating units.

The project is the first major planned outage to be completed since AGL’s acquisition of Loy Yang earlier this year, with contracting partners Lend Lease and Siemens performing turbine generator work and boiler work respectively, under a new five-year contract.

Chief operating officer for merchant energy, AGL’s operation and maintenance division, Dale Blampied, said a significant amount of preparation work had gone into the project spanning several years.

“The project involves over 7000 individual activities which will contribute to ensuring that ongoing performance and reliability are maintained,” Mr Blampied said.

Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union construction division’s Toby Thornton said AGL’s recent acquisition of Loy Yang had not drastically changed the outage rollout, adding there was a strong emphasis on safety this year.

In response to the renewal of maintenance contracts with Lend Lease and Siemens in February, Gippsland Trades and Labour Council secretary John Parker said maintenance contractors needed to ensure “capital pressures did not cloud” the continued need for safe maintenance.

The AGL spokesperson said the outage also included the installation of a new “state-of-the-art” digital control system, replacing an “ageing” analogue system, by outage partner Yokogawa.

The unit is expected to be back to full generation load by late October.