EnergyAustralia’s Mt Piper power station near Lithgow in New South Wales has received its first coal delivery by rail, allowing the plant to begin building stockpiles so it can run at full capacity when it’s needed most, over summer.
Mt Piper has managed coal shortages for several months due to significant issues with quality and volumes at the nearby Springvale mine, the power station’s sole source of supply. The plant has had to operate in coal-conservation mode, coming back online to meet periods of high demand.
Earlier this month EnergyAustralia and Springvale’s owner Centennial completed a two-month project so that the mine’s Lidsdale siding facility, which would normally dispatch coal, can also receive supply by rail. Mt Piper recently received its first delivery of coal from outside the immediate region.
"We’ve had a lot of people working very hard doing maintenance so the plant is ready for summer and establishing a rail link that opens up new coal supplies," said Greg McIntyre, Head of Mt Piper. "The rail link is a lifeline, lifting the immediate shortages in time for us to get up and running as electricity demand in New South Wales peaks with the warmer weather.
"The project has been a big team effort. Thanks go to our people at Mt Piper, Centennial Coal, Lithgow City Council and the local community for their ongoing support and patience while this work was done," he said.
Greg said Mt Piper will be ready to run at full capacity from the end of November.
The new rail unloader at Springvale receives coal from the Airly mine at Capertee, about 30 kilometres to the north of Mt Piper. From there, coal is transferred to Mt Piper via the existing conveyor system.
Centennial’s Deputy CEO Peter Parry said: "We have traditionally dispatched coal for export from our Lidsdale siding facility at Wallerawang. In the past two months we have made the necessary changes so the site can receive coal by rail.
"We’re also very pleased with the huge efforts of our Springvale employees in successfully completing a very difficult long wall relocation, enabling production and coal supplies to Mt Piper to recommence," Peter Parry concluded.
EnergyAustralia, the New South Wales government and Centennial Coal, are continuing to explore options that will ensure ongoing and reliable coal supplies to Mt Piper.