16/10/2018 - 16:03

ERA approves Pilbara power line

16/10/2018 - 16:03

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Alinta has received regulatory approval to build a transmission line linking the Roy Hill mine to Fortescue’s Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek mines, a move that would enable the iron ore miner to continue its shift away from diesel power.

ERA approves Pilbara power line
The Cloudbreak minesite is part of the Chichester hub.

Alinta has received regulatory approval to build a transmission line linking the Roy Hill mine to Fortescue Metals Group’s Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek mines, a move that would enable the iron ore miner to continue its shift away from diesel power.

The line would be 65 kilometres long, and have capacity of 220 kilovolts, according to a submission made to the Economic Regulaion Authority.

It would effectively act as an extension of Alinta’s existing transmission line between Newman power station, a gas operated facility, and the Roy Hill iron ore mine owned by Roy Hill Holdings.

The plans include building of two new substations, one at the Cloudbreak mine and one at a junction near Christmas Creek, in addition to two existing substations at those mines.

The application was submitted in July, while construction of the line would take 12 months.

It has been reported that Alinta Energy submitted a proposal to the Environmental Protection Authority in August requesting approval to clear land for a 60 megawatt solar farm, although Business News was unable to verify this before publication today.

Existing power at the Chichester hub is supplied by a 58MW diesel generator.

Neither Fortescue or Alinta were able to provide comment today.

But Fortescue has had a long-held policy of moving away from diesel generation, including through building the Fortescue River Gas Pipeline, which linked the company’s Solomon hub into the state’s existing gas network.

That reached practical completion in 2015.

In August 2017, Fortescue insourced the Solomon Power Station from TransAlta Corporation, five years after selling the plant and entering into a power purchase agreement.

Then in November, the company terminated its agreement to purchase 40MW of power from TransAlta’s South Hedland power station, which opened last year.

Evolving market

Earlier this year, Alinta announced it had installed Australia's second largest battery at the Newman power station, with capacity of about 30MW.

The benefit of that move was that it meant there was no longer a requirement for an additional generator to run providing spinning reserve capacity, which would be needed in the event that one of the main generator units trips.

The biggest change to the market came from the state government, which moved earlier this year to allow third party access by generators to government-owned Horizon Power's transmission network, in a bid to reduce the need for isolated generators carrying excess capacity.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options