Tuesday 24th Oct, 2017

Liddell in sad state as AGL plans replacement program

Photo: Public Domain
Photo: Public Domain

Energy business AGL has taken journalists on a tour of its aging Liddell power plant in New South Wales, in an effort to win over support for its plan to shut the plant down in 2022, against the Turnbull Government’s wishes.

According to several reports, AGL is facing a “huge daily challenge” just keeping the power plant open, and will need to spend upwards of $150 million just to keep the plant open until its planned 2022 closure date.

The 46-year-old plant is said to be currently without one of its four turbines due to maintenance, and another out of action due to a ‘complex’ failure. Two are also said to be running well below capacity to avoid shutting down.

This leaves it running at just 840MW out of its 2000MW original rated capacity, according to reports.

The plant’s coal conveyor system and its ash disposal system have also been described as “highly compromised”, and would also require significant work to have their life extended.

All told, the energy business has reportedly been quoted a cost of around $900 million, if it were to keep the plant open for a decade beyond its 50-year lifetime.

This staggering cost is essentially the company’s main argument against the Turnbull Government’s demands for the plant to remain open, in the interest of national energy supply.

“We’re dealing with a very, very old plant which has a multitude of technical problems,” AGL Macquarie general manager Kate Coates reportedly told Fairfax. “We are also struggling with getting coal up to our stations at the moment.”

While the Government is pushing for Liddell to stay open, and is pushing the energy company either to extend the life of the plant, or sell it to someone else who will, the ABC has reported AGL wants to replace the plant’s capacity with pumped hydro and gas generation.