April 6, 2020

A proposed expansion of EnergyAustralia’s power station at Tallawarra in New South Wales has passed a significant regulatory milestone, keeping the project on track to boost the state’s power supplies in time for the summer of 2022-23.

“Tallawarra power station is located near Shellharbour Airport. During our early consultation phase of the project, concerns were raised by the airport users that the plume from the proposed open cycle gas turbine could cause potential impacts on aviation activities,” said Julian Turecek, Tallawarra B Project Director – EnergyAustralia.

“All our work has been focussed on developing the best – and safest – project possible. We worked with Shellharbour Council, local airport users and other stakeholders to significantly redesign our proposal to lower the plume height,” he said. The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have now determined that aviation risks have been managed to an acceptable level.

“Our stakeholders appreciated the importance of this project for New South Wales households and businesses, and they were generous with their input. That’s meant we’ve been able to improve the engineering design so that we have an even better project than what was originally proposed.

“With an innovative engineering solution that lowers the plume from the open cycle gas turbine, we have demonstrated that aviation and a new gas plant can safely co-exist,” Julian said.

The Tallawarra plant expansion is estimated to deliver a $300 million boost to the Illawarra economy and create hundreds of jobs during peak construction. Once developed, the 300 megawatt facility could start within 25 minutes and power around 60,000 New South Wales homes.

With regulatory approval in place, EnergyAustralia will now focus on securing a contract for supply and construction and finalise the business case, with the aim of making a final investment decision later this year.

EnergyAustralia is aiming to have the new power station ready for the summer of 2022-23, ahead of the scheduled retirement of the Liddell power station. The project will address the need for fast-start flexible capacity, to complement renewables coming into the system. 

The Tallawarra development follows the announcement last week that EnergyAustralia had agreed to underpin development of the 250 megawatt Kidston pumped-hydro storage facility, located in Queensland.

“These projects are examples of the modern energy system taking shape in Australia. These are challenging times, but we won’t be slowing down. Our customers and communities are depending on us,” Mr Turecek said.

Read the NSW Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment’s letter to EnergyAustralia.