22/06/2004 - 22:00

Short-term boosters planned

22/06/2004 - 22:00

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Western Power is planning to hire gas turbines from overseas this year to ensure it can supply enough electricity to Perth during the hot summer months.

Short-term boosters planned

Short-term boosters planned

 

Western Power is planning to hire gas turbines from overseas this year to ensure it can supply enough electricity to Perth during the hot summer months.

It is also close to finalising a deal with private power producer TransAlta to supply extra electricity to Perth. These are among a range of measures planned by the government utility to ensure February’s power crisis is not repeated.

Western Power chief executive Harvey Collins told WA Business News total installed capacity would be about 3400 megawatts this summer.

This is a substantial lift on the total capacity last summer of 3220MW, although in practice the increase is larger because electricity production last summer was about 170MW below capacity.

Faults at the ageing Muja plant and the need to run the Kwinana plant on coal rather than gas accounted for the difference.

Mr Collins said the Muja plant was being repaired and the Kwinana plant was being modified so that it could run on liquids and gas, which burn more efficiently than coal.

He declined to quantify the cost of the improvements at the Muja and Kwinana plants, both of which are due to be retired over the next few years.

Mr Collins said leasing extra gas turbines for the Pinjar power station north of Perth would lift capacity by about 60MW.

The use of misting sprays at Pinjar, which serve to cool the gas turbines, would add a further 50MW.

The hook-up with TransAlta, which operates the Parkeston power station in the Goldfields, would add 30MW to 40MW.

The final leg of Western Power’s short-term planning is increased use of ‘demand management’, a euphemism for reducing supplies to certain customers during times of extreme demand.

Mr Collins, who shortly will be replaced by former BankWest executive Tony Iannello, is confident these measures collectively will enable Western Power to deliver electricity through another hot summer.

By the summer of 2005-06, the pressure on Western Power should be eased by the completion of the Kemerton and Pinjarra power stations.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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