27/06/2013 - 15:28

Verve to retire Kwinana power facility

27/06/2013 - 15:28

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The state government has moved to completely shut down the Kwinana Power Station by the end of 2015, as Labor leader Mark McGowan teed off on the government's report on the Muja AB refurbishment.

Energy Minister Mike Nahan announced the final stage of decommissioning of the 37-year-old plant today, and said the closure of Kwinana Stage C would not affect the state’s electricity market.

Keeping the facility in operation until 2020 would have cost upwards of $50 million, Mr Nahan said.

He said 100 staff would be redeployed within Verve, retrained, or offered redundancies.

Stages A and B of the plant were closed, in September 2010 and December 2008, respectively.

The WA Independent Power Association welcomed the announcement, saying retiring the final unit at Kwinana was the right decision to make.

“The lesson from the Muja AB refurbishment is that ageing inefficient plants should be retired, especially when it costs the market, and consumers, a significant amount of money in capacity payments to keep it going,” IPA chairman Richard Harris said.

“The WA IPA believes that the government should not let Verve replace Kwinana C but allow the private sector to take up future opportunities in building new power stations rather than risk taxpayers' money.”

Dr Nahan said the long term future of Kwinana power station was always evaluated against the need to invest in other generation options such as renewables, coal, gas, and dual and multi-fuel alternatives, and Verve Energy's necessity to operate within a 3,000MW generation cap.

Verve Energy will maintain ownership over the Kwinana site, which is home to the high efficiency gas turbines (HEGTs) and Cockburn power station.

The move to shut down the Kwinana unit comes amid considerable conjecture over the cost of refurbishing the Muja AB coal-fired power station in Collie.

Dr Nahan was due to hand down a comprehensive report on the project this week, but was lambasted in parliament today by opposition leader Mark McGowan after he delivered an eight-page document.

Requests by Business News to obtain a copy of the report had not been responded to at time of publication.

Mr McGowan said taxpayers had been left with a cost blowout of at least $280 million as a result of the failed refurbishment disaster and called for a public inquiry into the project’s handling. 

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