Australian utility and gas group EnergyAustralia today gave the go-ahead for the construction of the 316MW Tallawarra B gas-fired power plant in the Illawarra region of New South Wales (NSW). The new plant will be ready to operate in the summer of 2023-24, by which time the 1,680MW black coal-fired Liddell power plant in NSW will be closed.
Tallawarra B will be Australia's first net-zero emissions hydrogen- and gas-capable power plant, with direct carbon emissions from the project to be offset over its operational life, said EnergyAustralia's managing director Catherine Tanna. EnergyAustralia will offer to buy 200,000 kg/yr of green hydrogen from 2025, Tanna said. EnergyAustralia is 100pc owned by Hong Kong-listed energy and infrastructure group CLP.
Australian utilities have been under pressure from the Australian federal government, which set a deadline at the end of April for a gas-fired power plant to be built in NSW, otherwise it planned to build a 1,000MW gas-fired power plant through its 100pc-owned Snowy Hydro power utility as part of its gas-led economic plan unveiled last year.
"This project sets a new benchmark for how gas generators can be consistent with NSW's plan to be net zero by 2050 by using green hydrogen and offsetting residual emissions," NSW energy minister Matt Kean said.
The plan to build a new gas-fired power plant comes as NSW reported its lowest gas consumption for power generation over a quarterly period during January-March since the National Electricity Market, which covers eastern Australia, was formed in 1998. This is largely because of a sharp slide in wholesale power prices in the NEM area and the higher price of gas compared with competing fuels coal and renewables.