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Surge of interest follows base-load power proposal

THIRTEEN groups are keen to provide base-load power to Western Power from a new power station in the State’s South West.

Expressions of interest were submitted to Western Power last week that a plant be built to provide up to 330 megawatts of power by December 2007.

While most have elected to remain private, two groups proposing coal-based facilities – Wesfarmers with J-Power, and a partnership between Griffin Energy and Mitsui – have been public about their intentions for some time.

Should one of these groups be the ultimate preferred bidder, WA will gain its first privately owned coal-fired power station.

Griffin first announced its Collie power project plans last May.

Collie coal is comparatively low in sulphur and ash and is methane free, and Wesfarmers has been selling its own Collie proposal on these features, in addition to cost efficiencies.

Gas to the South West comes from the mid and north-west, and is supplied by the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline, owned by Epic Energy, and the Parmelia Pipeline, owned by CMS Transmission Energy.

The DBNGP, which delivers North West Shelf gas, is currently at capacity, according to Epic, and new access arrangements remain under a regulatory cloud.

Both access and capacity are available on the Parmelia line, which carries a mix of north-west gas and production from the onshore Beharra Springs, Dongara and Woodada gas fields.

While two-thirds of current capacity would be needed for a base-load plant, CMS Transmission Energy general manager David King said the company was nonetheless willing to talk with those proposing further projects.

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