A major outage at EnergyAustralia's Tallawarra Power Station will generate more than 300 jobs for the Illawarra region and contribute millions of dollars to the local economy.
Fitters, welders, scaffolders, electricians and many other trades from the region have been contracted since September 13 to complete the 50-day maintenance project, which occurs about every three years.
The station normally has 38 staff, but the workforce increases to about 350 during the outage.
During a major outage, specialists check all components of the gas turbine to ensure it will continue to operate efficiently and safely when returned to service.
Critical work on other areas of the facility is also carried out during the outage, ensuring Tallawarra remains one of the most environmentally-efficient thermal power stations in Australia and continues providing power to about 200,000 homes.
EnergyAustralia's Tallawarra Power Station Plant Manager John McIntyre said the major outage would benefit the local community in a number of ways.
"We have always been committed to giving back to the Illawarra region, and this outage will help create jobs and contribute significantly to the local economy," Mr McIntyre said.
"Without the support of local contractors, a lot of the work required to be done would be difficult, so we are grateful for their support.
"This complex outage involves a range of different skills and, wherever possible, we source contractors and suppliers from the Illawarra region as well as use locally-sourced materials.
"These outages also benefit other local businesses, with specialists brought in from overseas and other regions hiring accommodation, eating at local restaurants and buying groceries and other goods from local stores," he said.
The gas turbine will undergo routine repairs; an inspection of the LP steam turbine and generator will be carried out; and some parts will be replaced on the heat recovery steam generator, including the installation of a new de-superheater, which enables better steam temperature control.
Minor outages also take place once a year at the power station.
"Tallawarra is a leader in environmentally sustainable practices. Minor and major outages not only benefit the Illawarra economy, but are also vital in keeping the power station at its best," Mr McIntyre said.
"This outage has taken more than a year to plan to ensure everyone involved stays safe during this busy time."