Jeeralang demand increases

Victoria has relied more on gas in the past year since Hazelwood closed with Jeeralang power station used to top up power supplies on days of peak demand over summer.

So far this year, Jeeralang B has been used on 21 days, operating for around five hours on each of these days, most notably during the heatwaves of the past fortnight.

Jeeralang A has been switched on for 11 days this year, averaging 3.5 hours at a time.

Ecogen owns and operates both the Jeeralang and Newport gas-fired power stations and has an agreement to supply fuel to EnergyAustralia.

An EnergyAustralia spokesperson said Jeeralang’s 448 megawatt power station had been used intermittently on days of peak demand.

He said Jeeralang dispatched close to maximum capacity over the Australia Day weekend sizzler.

“You’ll typically see Newport and Jeeralang in service when there are tighter conditions in the Victorian market, for example, on extremely hot days or to provide cover for when other plants are out of service,” he said.

“Gas-fired generation has been called upon more regularly in Victoria over the past year to meet electricity demand following the sudden closure of the Hazelwood power station.”

Melbourne University energy and climate research fellow Dylan McConnell said he was not surprised that gas was being used more since there is no more extra capacity being generated from Hazelwood.

“While the long-term future is not looking good for coal, it means we will rely more on renewables and gas, and, as we can see in South Australia, they are relying on each other,” he said.

“But when you turn on the gas generators to meet demand, prices in the wholesale market will also be higher, as gas is more expensive at the moment.”