Torrens A Station at Torrens Island, South Australia.
AGL Torrens is a natural gas-fired power station in South Australia.
“From September 2019, AGL will progressively mothball the 52-year-old Torrens A Station – starting with A2 and A4 – following the start of commercial operation of the 210MW Barker Inlet Power Station. The four Torrens B generating units will continue to operate as normal.”
The vast uptake of renewables, particularly rooftop solar, has meant that less capacity is required during the day. This has led to demand in the National Energy Market (NEM) becoming ‘peakier’ – with less demand in the middle of the day, before peak demand kicks in early evening when the sun goes down and people arrive home and use more energy.
To match the changes in demand, the sector is progressively transitioning from primarily traditional baseload energy generation to more flexible sources of energy, like Barker Inlet Power Station, that can better respond to the peaks and troughs in demand.
What steps are being taken to preserve Torrens A Station?
Once the turbines go cold, corrosion is the biggest enemy - especially for a power plant located next to the salty Gulf St Vincent. Torrens A Station will be the first plant in Australia to use a film forming substance in its boilers during mothballing activities.
How does it work?
To combat this corrosion, the steam system of each generation unit will be fed with a high-tech substance which bonds with all wet and steam surfaces of the boiler and turbine system.
The substance will form a hydrophobic layer over the surfaces – it will aggressively repel water, significantly reducing the ability of moisture and salt to corrode the surfaces.
Head of Torrens and Barker Inlet Power Station Terry Jobling said the experimental treatment had great future outcomes for the energy industry in Australia.
‘This product is a great solution for preserving Torrens A station,’ Terry said.
‘The benefits of this nation-first process can also be transferred to other stations across the fleet. This trial at Torrens A will give us an excellent case study in rolling out this technique.’
What about supply when Torrens comes offline?
The new Barker Inlet Power Station will come online later in 2019, comprising 12 reciprocating engines capable of generating approximately 18 MW of output each. The engines at Barker Inlet Power Station will 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 $295 million power plant is part of $1.9 billion in investment in new supply – and a further $1.5 billion being assessed for feasibility. This development reflects our long-standing commitment to supply safe and secure energy to the National Energy Market.