A 210 MW reciprocating engine power station near Adelaide
The Barker Inlet Power Station will improve South Australia's energy reliability. As the state increases its renewable energy generation, sites like Barker Inlet are an important part of the energy mix.
The Barker Inlet Power Station demonstrates our support for an orderly transition to a carbon-constrained future. The new investment will help phase out two of the four neighbouring Torrens A turbines with efficient technology that will produce less greenhouse gas per unit of electricity generated.
The Barker Inlet Power Station will be located on Torrens Island, alongside the AGL Torrens Island Power Station site, 18km from Adelaide’s CBD.
In July 2017, we announced a $295 million investment to develop a 210 MW reciprocating engine power station, the Barker Inlet Power Station. This station would sit alongside our Torrens Island Power Station site near Adelaide, South Australia.
The Barker Inlet Power Station will comprise 12 reciprocating engines capable of generating approximately 18 MW of output each. The engines operate at high efficiency and with a lower heat rate than other forms of fast-start plants currently available. The station will also be capable of operating at full capacity within five minutes, providing a rapid response to changes in renewable generation supply.
The Barker Inlet Power Station will replace two of the four Torrens A turbines, which we will progressively mothball from September 2019. The four Torrens B generating units will continue to operate as normal.
As Torrens A is now 50 years old, our decision in June 2016 to defer its previously planned mothballing reflected the importance we place in maintaining security of supply in South Australia following the short notice withdrawal of other thermal power stations.
Our decision to move ahead with this development reflects our long-standing commitment to our South Australian customers. As Australia’s electricity market adapts to a carbon-constrained future, we’re focussed on our contribution to creating a secure energy system as the market transitions.
We will continue our commitment to improving reliability and security of supply in South Australia using modern, responsive technology that is more fuel efficient and less carbon intensive than the pre-existing plant.
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Barker Inlet Power Station will replace ageing generation capacity in the Torrens Island Power Station A Station. The old station will be progressively mothballed commencing in September 2019.
Barker Inlet Power Station will utilise 12 reciprocating engine generators to deliver efficient and flexible operations with a fast start-up time. This type of generator driver is better placed to react to the current variability observed in the South Australian electricity market.
The new configuration would also have the option of diesel firing which will replace the current fuel oil firing capacity within the Torrens Island B Station. The proposed power station is to be built on land owned by AGL and will play a critical role in securing South Australia’s energy supplies for the future.
Reciprocating engines are currently used for power generation projects across the world. They are typically used to support variable dispatch power generation, such as wind farms.
Here’s an overview of why we’ve chosen this technology:
- 12 individual units (18 MW each) operate as a single dispatchable power station
- a smaller network capacity step change when the generation units stop and start
- faster start times – nominally five minutes from stopped to full load
- higher thermal efficiency – uses less fuel than gas turbines, producing less greenhouse gas per unit of electricity generated
- zero waste water production
- diesel fuel capability to allow alternative fuel to be used when gas supply is constrained.
Changes in the gas supply market across Australia has led to increased gas prices and constrained supply. To ensure operational flexibility, particularly at time of high demand, these reciprocating engines will be capable of firing both natural gas and distillate fuel.
Natural gas will be the predominant fuel. Dual fuel engines have the ability to use a backup liquid fuel when gas supply is uneconomical. The diesel fuel used in the reciprocating engines will be standard low sulphur automotive distillate.
We will invest $295 million in the construction of Barker Inlet Power Station.
We estimate 150-200 new jobs will be created during the construction of Barker Inlet Power Station over 18 months, with more employment opportunities expected through the local supply chain.
The market has gone through significant changes due to multiple factors.
In particular, the sudden exit of coal-fired power stations has created a tighter supply and demand balance. There is also the increase in the cost of gas due to steep changes in gas demand associated with LNG export in Queensland.
The Barker Inlet Power Station demonstrates our support for an orderly transition to a carbon-constrained future. This investment is to avoid the price spikes the market saw with the unanticipated and sudden exit of Northern and Hazelwood power stations. We believe that increasing supply of generation into the market will ultimately put downward pressure on prices.
We always encourage customers to shop around for the best deal. To compare energy deals, customers can visit the Australian government website, Energy Made Easy.
The Barker Inlet Power Station will be more fuel efficient and the greenhouse gas emissions of our operations on Torrens Island will reduce by approximately 35–50% once the new plant is commissioned.
When the Barker Inlet Power Station has achieved commercial operation, the existing fuel oil firing capability at the B Station will be taken out of service.
Emissions will be within the limits set out in the Environment Protection (Air Quality) Policy 2016. On the rare occasions when liquid fuel is required the use of cleaner diesel together with catalytic reduction units will result in a significantly better environmental outcome than the current liquid fuel capability at Torrens Island Power Station. A related benefit will be a reduction in the liquid fuel storage volumes on Torrens Island from the current capacity of 16,000 tonnes to around 1,500 tonnes.
Torrens Island Power Station currently uses cooling sea water from the Port River which discharges heat into the Angas Inlet. Barker Inlet Power Station will be air-cooled, meaning that no heat will be discharged into the Angas Inlet.
Barker Inlet Power Station will be built adjacent to the Torrens Island Power Station B Station, ensuring that the development does not impact the Torrens Island Conservation Park.