Canadian-based energy company TransAlta Corporation (Australia) has signed an agreement with Horizon Power to fund, design, build and operate a 150 megawatt combined cycle gas power station at South Hedland to meet future Pilbara electricity demand.

Fortescue Metals Group and Horizon Power are foundation customers of the new $570million power station, to be built in South Hedland’s Boodarie Industrial Estate.

WA Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett said the new power station would help to ensure long term energy security for residents and businesses in the growing Pilbara region, with TransAlta’s presence also introducing much-needed competition into the market.

”This state-of-the-art energy infrastructure will be built using private, rather than State funds, demonstrating there are still innovative ways to deliver important infrastructure in times of financial constraint,” Mr Barnett said.

The Premier thanked Fortescue Metals Group for their commitment to the project, adding it was a great example of a public-private partnership working together to deliver the right outcomes for the resources sector and regional communities.

The station is expected to create up to 250 jobs during construction, which will start in early 2015. First power is expected to be delivered in 2016 with full commissioning expected in 2017. At a later date, the plant may also be expanded to supply power to other customers and commercial users.

WA Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the agreement negotiated by Horizon Power was just the beginning of improved co-ordination and integration of energy infrastructure in the North-West Interconnected System.

“Horizon Power should be proud of this outcome of several years of work which is part of a bigger vision to have a fully integrated and co-ordinated electricity network in the Pilbara,” Dr Nahan said.

“This will ensure precious resources are not wasted and that customers are buying power from the most cost effective system possible.”

The combined cycle gas power plant will be one of the most efficient and reliable power stations in the region. This plant features both natural gas and steam turbines, with the steam turbine using waste heat from the gas turbine to generate additional electricity.

“TransAlta is committed to producing sustainable power to serve commercial and large industrial customers,” TransAlta’s president and chief executive officer, Dawn Farrell said.

“Western Australia is an important market for TransAlta and we are pleased that we are adding another asset at an important location such as South Hedland. Our growth plans ensure we can serve our customers competitively in the regions in which we operate.”

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