$575 million coal burning power plant comes of age

Western Power’s energy showpiece, the Collie Power Station, officially came of age last week when it was opened by WA Energy Minister Colin Barnett.

The $575 million turnkey contract project, constructed by an Asea Brown Boveri-Itochu Corporation consortium, has set a resource milestone in the South West of Western Australia. The 300 megawatt plant is rated the most modern coal-fired power station built in Australia to date, and will add about ten per cent extra generating capacity to the SW Interconnect System (SWIS).

Mr Barnett hailed it as providing a new era in efficiency power generation for the State.

“Collie Power Station is a milestone project for WA’s energy sector and is now Western Power’s most efficient station,” he said.

“Its generation costs are 30 per cent lower than existing coal-powered stations in Collie and it produces the cheapest electricity in the State.”

During the three years it took to develop the project, it was not without its problems. These ranged from a fire which destroyed all the electrical and electronic equipment, causing a four month delay while it was replaced, strikes by workers and disgruntled contractors, not to mention the normal teething problems engineers have to tackle in a project of this size.

However the project was completed on budget and on time according to the revised schedule. It will be operated on behalf of Western Power by Pacific Western.

Western Power managing director David Eiszele said infrastructure, capitalised interest and escalation (labour and materials and contract variations) took the total cost of establishing the power station on a greenfields site to $800 million.

“With annual power demand forecast to continue to rise at the rate of between three per cent and four per cent and less use being made of older power stations, more generating plants will be needed in about four years,” Mr Eiszele said.

“Our challenge is to continue the focus on cost reduction while ensuring a reliable electricity supply that provides value for money in the future.

“Since deregulation in 1995, there has been more than 1000MW of private generation installed in WA.

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