Natural gas to warm up South Australians

Pelican Point Power Station, South Australia
Pelican Point Power Station, South Australia

While work to upgrade the interconnector that delivers energy to South Australia’s grid continues, the previously moth-balled Pelican Point Power Station will swing into action to help homes and businesses through a freezing winter.

The power station uses a combined-cycle gas turbine operation which can produce 479MW of electricity. At full capacity, the plant can cater for approximately 25 per cent of South Australia’s needs.

The constrained capacity of the Heywood Interconnector during prolonged cold weather in South Australia highlights the benefits of natural gas, according to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA).

APPEA director South Australia Matthew Doman said power generated using natural gas continues to show its worth by complementing the use of renewables.

“Natural gas turbines can be easily ramped up to meet demand,” Mr Doman said.

“This makes gas an excellent natural counterpart for intermittent and variable energy resources such as wind and solar. Natural gas also provides a large degree of flexibility through energy storage.

“Additional power generation to meet load balancing requirements of renewables must continue to come from Australia’s reserves of natural gas noting that Australia has one of the largest natural gas reserves in the Asia-Pacific region and South Australia has a large and readily available natural gas supply.

More broadly across the eastern Australian energy market, Mr Doman said restrictions on exploration and natural gas development must be lifted to help deliver a reliable, affordable and secure energy supply.