The South Australian Government has purchased its first power plant since the privatisation of ETSA in 1999, with the acquisition of nine GE TM2500 aeroderivative turbines.

The option to purchase the backup power plant, which was initially leased and installed at two temporary locations in time for summer, was exercised so that work on relocating the generators to a permanent location operating on gas could progress as soon as possible.

Minister for Energy, Tom Koutsantonis, said, “This power plant will be critical to system security in South Australia, which is why we are exercising our option to purchase so we can get on with the work of securing a permanent location.”

The State Government is currently undertaking consultation on a number of permanent sites that meet the requirements of being adjacent to both the gas and electricity transmission networks.

The state-owned power plant will fall under the purview of the new Energy and Water Services (E&WS) Department.

The State Government has promised to privatise the power plant.

South Australia’s 276MW power plant was procured as part of the State Government’s energy plan to provide backup power in emergency situations to help prevent unnecessary load-shedding, which occurred in February 2017 when 90,000 households lost power because the market operator decided to switch off homes, rather than switch on available generation.

The new GE TM2500 aeroderivative turbines have been connected to the grid at two temporary locations – the former General Motors Holden site at Elizabeth and the Adelaide Desalination Plant at Lonsdale, where they will operate on diesel for the next two summers.

They will then be moved to a permanent location as a state-owned power plant operating on gas.

While operating on diesel, the plant is 25 per cent cleaner than the former Northern Power Station, and once operating on gas, will be cleaner and more efficient than the gas-fired Torrens Island Power Station.

Premier, Jay Weatherill, said the state-of-the-art power plant is now available to turn on at short notice to prevent against unnecessary load-shedding, and once operating on gas, will be one of the cleanest conventional generators in the nation. 

Utility Journalist

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