Australasia, Coal Fired

Power station closures could spell trouble for New South Wales

AGL has informed the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) of the schedule for closing its Liddell power station in the Upper Hunter region of NSW and its Torrens A power station near Adelaide in South Australia, providing notice in accordance with reporting requirements.

In both cases, AGL has had to create a schedule that will help the national energy market cope with the critical summer months.

To help mitigate generation impacts across the system following the outage of Unit 2 at Loy Yang A and to ensure that the Barker Inlet Power Station is operationally stable prior to mothballing these units, AGL is seeking permission from the State Government to continue to operate over the upcoming summer.

Under the schedule provided to AEMO, the first two Torrens A units will be closed in September 2020. A third unit will be closed in September 2021 and the final unit in September 2022.

AGL’s new 210MW gas-fired Barker Inlet power station will be operating from November 2019, providing capacity before Torrens A is retired. It is a requirement under AGL’s development approval for the Barker Inlet power station to close all four units at Torrens A in a staged and orderly approach over time.

AGL is continuing to progress a series of power firming projects in NSW including the 100MW upgrade to the Bayswater power station, assessing the feasibility of 250MW of pumped hydro at Bells Mountain and seeking approvals for a 250MW gas power station at Newcastle.

In South Australia, AGL is currently investigating the feasibility of a 250MW pumped hydro plant at Kanmantoo and earlier this year delivered the 30MW ESCRI battery on the Yorke Peninsula as part of a joint venture with Electranet.

AGL has previously indicated that Liddell would close in 2022, which after 50 years of operation will have reached the end of its technical life.

The first unit at Liddell will close in April 2022. However, following an independent engineering assessment, AGL has determined that the remaining three units will close in April 2023, supporting system reliability throughout the 2022-23 summer months.

AGL had previously announced a plan to close two of the four units at Torrens A by November 2019, as the plant is more than 50 years old.