08/07/2008 - 11:17

Kwinana plant boosts WA's energy supply

08/07/2008 - 11:17

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Part of the Kwinana power station has been brought back to life, one of several Verve Energy generators that were shut down fro planned maintenance before the pipeline rupture at the Varanus Island gas facility last month.

Kwinana plant boosts WA's energy supply

Part of the Kwinana power station has been brought back to life, one of several Verve Energy generators that were shut down for planned maintenance before the pipeline rupture at the Varanus Island gas facility last month.

Premier Alan Carpenter said the110MW Kwinana Unit 1 would operate at 60 per cent for the first couple of days before reaching full capacity.

"Bringing this coal-fired power station back on line will reduce the amount of expensive diesel used and free-up gas for companies that need it," he said.

"I would like to congratulate Verve Energy, its employees, contractors and suppliers, for the big effort they have put in to help us bring back generating units that have been out of service.

"To minimise gas use, Verve Energy has been maximising its use of coal with the other five units at the Kwinana Power Station. This has meant special arrangements have been made to truck coal from Collie to supplement supplies railed to the power station."

Mr Carpenter said it was normal practice to schedule maintenance shutdowns for the seasons of lower electricity demand so they were available during summer when demand was at its highest.

In another step aimed at easing the gas shortage, energy minister Fran Logan announced today that the Office of Energy was working with the Independent Market Operator (IMO) to allow smaller gas users to have access to the recently-opened Gas Bulletin Board.

Mr Logan said the Bulletin Board - which received offers to sell gas and bids to purchase gas from market participants, and matched up potential buyers and sellers - was currently limited to gas volumes above 0.5 terajoules of gas per day or more.

"As a direct result of feedback from stakeholders, we are currently looking to lower this threshold to 0.1 terajoules of gas per day," he said.

"We will be able to provide smaller gas consumers with details of these changes within the next day or two, but it will involve an expansion of the Bulletin Board's existing provision for special deals. In the meantime, I would encourage small gas users to register their interest with the IMO.

"Participation in the Bulletin Board is free. There is no cost to registration and no fees are charged to market participants."

Mr Logan also outlined the latest on other power stations:

- Cockburn Power Station (gas, 240MW) returned from regular maintenance and overhaul 10 days ago, adding 240MW of gas-fired generation to the network;

- Muja Power Station - good progress is being made with bringing back into service Unit 7 (coal, 227MW) which was out of service for major upgrade when the gas shortage began. It is currently producing about 50 per cent of its capacity

- Collie Power Station (coal, 340MW) - the damaged turbine blades have been replaced and the generating unit is being reassembled so it can return to service in two to three weeks;

- Muja Stages A/B (coal, 180MW) - assessment of the condition of the machines and what is needed to bring them out of retirement is continuing. Mid-August is the most likely timeline for the first of the units to return to service, depending on the rehabilitation work needed; and- Pinjar gas turbine station - an 110MW gas turbine will be out of service for up to five weeks after a major machinery component was damaged. A replacement is being sent from overseas.

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