EnergyAustralia said a major program of planned outage maintenance now underway at the Yallourn power station would more than double the plant’s workforce over the outage period, and provide a $30 million boost to the Latrobe Valley economy.
Head of the Yallourn power station, Mark Pearson, said the combined existing and project workforce at the site would increase to more than 500 at the peak of the 70-day operation. The major outage is aimed at addressing unit issues that could impact on the performance and reliability of the plant.
EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s leading energy retailers, has recruited more than 220 skilled technicians and other workers to join the plant’s existing maintenance crew for the outage duration. Many of the new arrivals are locals and some ex-Hazelwood workers.
Latrobe Valley is home to some of the best-trained and highly-skilled energy industry workers in the country. Major outage periods are a great opportunity to bring in people from across the region to complete the outage works safely, on time and to budget,” Mr Pearson said.
Yallourn has generation capacity of 1480-megawatt (MW), enough to meet up to 22 per cent of Victoria’s energy demand. This current outage is the first in a new five-year series that will run until 2021.
In 2015 EnergyAustralia completed a five-year project to improve Yallourn’s efficiency, allowing the plant to produce power for 100,000 extra homes without having to burn a single, additional lump of coal.
The priority works in the current outage involve replacing up to 180 metres of high-pressure and high-temperature pipeline which transfers steam from the boiler to the turbine. These turbines drive the generator at each unit (Yallourn has four units) to create electricity.
The outage is planned to conclude by 23 November. It’s expected to contribute more than $30 million to the Latrobe Valley economy through wages, services and the manufacture and delivery of materials and equipment.
“Yallourn has enough coal reserves to last to 2032, our current end of operating date. While circumstances can always change, EnergyAustralia plans to run the plant through until that time and then rehabilitate the site,” Mr Pearson said.
“In the meantime, Yallourn has a critical role to play providing reliable, base load energy for the state and national energy system as we transition to cleaner forms of generation. For so long as Yallourn is needed, EnergyAustralia will invest in the plant and our people so our operations are as reliable and carbon-efficient as they can possibly be.”