Aviva Corporation Limited and ERM Power have announced they will conduct a joint pre-feasibility study on a 400-megawatt coal-fired power station in the Mid West region of Western Australia.Aviva is the second local company after Eneabba Gas to pursue a major power generation project in the Mid West.Both companies are hoping to meet the expected electricity demand from planned iron ore projects inland from Geraldton.Aviva said the pre-feasibility study would run in conjunction with its developing work on the central west coal resource located 150 kilometres south of Geraldton. The company believes the central west project is ideally located in the northern half of the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) power grid to take advantage of increased demand from both the SWIS and from new resource projects in the Mid West. Aviva chief executive Lindsay Reed said the study was a significant milestone for the company as well as the region and the WA electricity market."Going to market with an established energy developer is a major vote of confidence in the relatively low cost economics of the central west coal resource," Mr Reed said. Aviva's partner, private Queensland company ERM Power, was the successful bidder, in conjunction with investment bank Babcock & Brown, to build WA's newest base-load power station.Their joint venture company, NewGen Power, recently commenced construction of the $400 million gas-fired power station at Kwinana.The 32OMW output from this plant will be sold to the state owned electricity retailer, Synergy.ERM chairman Trevor St Baker said "the Mid West Power Station Project complements our existing assets and aspirations in Western Australia and we look forward to working with Aviva". Mr Reed said Aviva was pleased to be working with ERM because of its experience in dealing with the environmental, marketing and network issues to bring a baseload power station to the recently deregulated WA energy market. "This project complements the activities of ERM Power in WA, therefore it brings firsthand knowledge of the requirements of the project and provides it with the opportunity to diversify its fuel, generation and geographic mix in the SWIS," Mr Reed said. Eneabba Gas completed an $8.2 million public share offer earlier this year to fund its feasibility study into building a 168MW gas-fired power station near Dongara.The company suffered a setback in July when the Independent Market Operator said it was unable to grant Eneabba certified reserve capacity for the 2008-09 year.The company had been planning to underpin its project with reserve capacity credits.Separately, Eneabba said it has received definitive expressions of interest from companies in the region seeking up to 337MW of energy.
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