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After being redesigned following concerns of plume height, EnergyAustralia’s proposed expansion of its power station at Tallawarra in New South Wales has gained regulatory approval.

Tallawarra Power Station is located near Shellharbour Airport. During the 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.

Julian Turecek, Tallawarra B Project Director – EnergyAustralia, said the organisation’s work was focused 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,” Mr Turecek said.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has 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,” Mr Turecek said.

“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.”

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 300MW facility could start within 25 minutes and power around 60,000 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 in 2020.

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, complementing renewables coming into the system. 

The Tallawarra development follows the announcement last week that EnergyAustralia had agreed to underpin development of the 250MW 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.

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