New power plant assures local supply


The future security of Dubbo’s power supply could be assured following the approval of a proposal to build a $350 million gas-turbine power station in Wellington.

The State Government yesterday conditionally approved a development application lodged by ERM Power to build four gas-turbo generators to improve the electricity supply to Wellington and surrounding western towns, including Dubbo.

ERM Power NSW director Andy Pittlik said under the project gas would be supplied by a new pipeline connecting to the existing central west pipeline at Alectown.

He said the “localised benefit” of the plant would be its ability to reduce the chance of power disruptions and provide temporary electricity supply and transmission reliability to the region in the event of transmission line failure.

“The project aims to supply part of the additional peak generation required within the electricity system to maintain reserve margins necessary for reliable electricity supply in the State,” he said.

Mr Pittlik said the Wellington “peaker” would typically operate at an annual capacity factor of about four per cent – or roughly 350 hours per year.

“The times we will see this really kick in is, for example, on exceptionally hot or cold days when there’s a massive spike in usage,” he said.

“It will make sure in peak periods there is enough electricity for the region.”

The 18-month construction phase of the project is expected to create up to 250 jobs and provide about 12 permanent local jobs during operation as well as provide “a significant boost to the local economy”.

Mr Pittlik said the plant would also offer significant benefits over existing coal-fired power stations including lower water requirements and substantially lower greenhouse gases.

He said while he expects the facility to be located four kilometres north-east of Wellington on the Mudgee road, the final location would be determined subject to community consultation.

“ERM Power intends to commence community consultation after the Christmas and New Year period and will co-ordinate with Wellington and other councils to ensure that interested parties are properly informed,” he said.

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