Gas comes to remote Top End


The Northern Territory’s Wadeye community will benefit from the new $13.9 million gas-fired power station being constructed through the Power and Water Corporation’s Remote Operations business unit.

Three years in the planning, construction for the power station to replace the old diesel generated station began last March and is projected to open this September.

The station will play a key role in the sustainability of the remote Wadeye community, as diesel fuel delivery becomes increasingly expensive.

The power station will be fuelled through a new gas supply pipeline, which is also being established by Power and Water Corporation to connect into the main Black Tip gas supply line. The Wadeye station allows the Northern Territory Government-owned corporation to produce electricity at a lower cost than diesel and will go towards meeting the target of halving diesel consumption in communities by 2020.

However, building power stations in remote communities brings unique challenges. Distance, the wet season, cyclones, flooding, the dry season, heat, dust and fires must all be factored into the construction process and timeline. Project managers, for example, consider issues such as co-ordinating the arrival of barges with the tides to make unloading equipment easier and safer during the wet season.

Despite the considerable challenges, however, the concrete pour for the foundations of the power station took place only 24 days after arrival at the green field site in April 2014. Building progressed smoothly throughout the dry season with gas generators delivered by barge in November. The site was then made cyclone-ready before the wet season closed roads at the end of the month and the project was paused.

In April 2015, at the end of the wet season and in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclones Lam and Nathan, the project resumed with the start of the electrical installation. By May, installation of the low line gas line began, which will deliver gas from the gas skid located in a compound next to the power station.

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