Current weather conditions are placing an increased reliance on the diminishing water catchments across Australia. These water catchments store water for use by various parts of the local community including drinking water for residents, irrigation and Electricity generation.
Stanwell recently announced water sustainability is a top priority for its Tarong Power stations located within the South Burnett region.
Water is an essential necessity for thermal power stations to make electricity. The water is used for steam production and cooling.
Tarong power station consisting of 4 X 350MW thermal units and a 443MW supercritical unit. These units obtain their water from two sources, the primary source is Lake Boondooma and secondary from a pipeline using water from Lake Wivenhoe or recycled water produced under the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme.
Stanwell corporation is focusing on mitigating the impact on the South Burnett community by reducing the usage of water from Lake Boondooma to ensure the South Burnett community have access to drinking water. Initial initiatives used at the power station to reduce the reliance on Lake Boondooma water include the use of recycled water from the ash dam and stormwater.
Tarong Power Station have access to water from Lake Wivenhoe if Lake Boondooma drops below 34%, currently the Lake Boondooma’s level is 22.95% as of the (Source: SEQWater 2020). Lake Wivenhoe water also comes at an added cost. Water is currently the highest operating cost for Tarong Power Station.
An alternative to using Lake Wivenhoe water is the use of purified recycled water from the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme. The scheme is not currently in operation, however when operating and supplying water to Tarong Power Station it will add significantly to the costs of generation.
Tarong Power Station first used purified recycled water from the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme in June 2008 following a similar water supply limitation brought on by the 2008 drought.
As a result, the increasing marginal cost to generation caused by the higher water cost, Tarong Power Station may change its operation and reduce generation or dispatch its units at higher prices. Under either scenario this may increase the cost of wholesale energy in Queensland.
If you have any questions regarding this article or the electricity market in general, call Edge on 07 3905 9220 or 1800 334 336.