Traralgon power station ‘full steam ahead’

A TRARALGON gas-fired power generation station, expected to be operational next month, will ensure electricity security through the peak of summer.

Dubbed the first of its kind in Victoria to use reciprocating engine technology, the 20 megawatt Nova Power station will be tapped into during the peak electricity periods, avoiding a substantial upgrade to the SP AusNet substation.

Nova Power managing director  Anthony Collins said it was a small but important operation which would ensure power security for the growing population.

“If things kept going the way they were going, power security would have been at risk, particularly over summer,” Mr Collins said.

Only 10MW in its first phase, Mr Collins said Nova Power was in a “niche” distribution support market.

“It is an innovative form of providing power closer to where it is needed,” he said.

“The beneficiaries are end users of electricity (households and businesses) who receive greater power security without the traditional costs associated with network upgrades.”

As a more “environmentally friendly” option than diesel generated network support stations typically found throughout Victoria, Mr Collins said the project had been well-received.

“It is good for power security, its innovative, its green, and has lower carbon, they are the sort of good messages which is consistent with what (Latrobe City) council want to drive,” he said.

A permit application was applied for in September this year for the Traralgon-Maffra Road site after three years in the pipeline. 

Despite council’s opposition, the permit application was placed on hold at the request of Nova Power which advised council it did not consider a planning permit was necessary.

“That is all resolved and we have all the planning approvals in place,” Mr Collins said.

“There was a period of hiatus; we were uncertain what we were, in terms of the planning code, because it is a very innovative (project) but we have worked through that and it is now full steam ahead.”

Currently in the final stages of an Environment Protection Authority assessment, Mr Collins said the station would be fully operational for the peak summer period.

He would not shed light on the cost of the project or third party investment, but said Nova Power, Traralgon was providing 15 local contracting jobs throughout the construction phase with long term maintenance positions from December.

In response to criticism from surrounding business owners for Nova Power’s lack of consultation about the project, Mr Collins said it had been sufficient.

“There is always people wondering what it is and what role it plays but in our dealing there was no one advertly negative (about the project),” he said.

Nova Power plans to begin a rollout of gas-fired power stations across the state from next year.