Queensland Premier opens one of Australia’s most efficient baseload power stations

Origin Energy and the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh opened the Darling Downs power station in November 2010. The station will play an important role in assisting Queensland maintain a secure, efficient and reliable electricity supply, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Darling Downs power station is part of an investment of more than $5 billion in Queensland energy infrastructure by Origin and Australia Pacific LNG during the past decade.

Origin’s 630 MW combined-cycle Darling Downs Power station, located 40 km west of Dalby, is powered by coal seam gas piped from the Australia Pacific LNG gas fields. The construction of the power station also included a 205 km pipeline that stretches from the Wallumbilla gas hub near Roma to the Talinga gas production facility. The pipeline will provide up to 44 petajoules of gas to the power station each year.

Origin managing director, Grant King said Darling Downs is an example of Origin’s strategy of being a fuel-integrated generator and retailer.

“This strategy allows us to better manage risk and satisfy more of our retail customer demand using our own power stations, fired by our own fuel sources,” Mr King said.

“Darling Downs is a part of Origin and Australia Pacific LNG’s growing investment in gas infrastructure that will provide a long-term benefit to regional Queensland. Other major projects in Queensland have included the expansion and development of the Spring Gully and Talinga gas production facilities and the expansion of the Mt Stuart power station in Townsville.

“Darling Downs power station is a $1 billion investment by Origin in electricity generation technology that can help Australia start to meet its objectives of reducing carbon emissions,” he said.

The Darling Downs power station is one of Australia’s most efficient baseload gas-fired power stations, capable of supplying enough energy to power more than 400,000 homes each day.

The power station is Australia’s largest combined cycle gas-fired power station and will emit less than half of the greenhouse gas of a typical water-cooled coal-fired power station of the same capacity. It has three 120 MW gas turbines and a 270 MW steam turbine – providing a total generation capacity of 630 MW.

Origin executive general major development projects, Andrew Stock said not only was Darling Downs power station one of the cleanest baseload power stations in terms of carbon emissions, but it was also extremely frugal in terms of the water it consumes as part of the electricity generation process.

“By using the latest air-cooled technology, Darling Downs will use less than three per cent of the water of a conventional water-cooled, coal-fired power station,” Mr Stock said.

“The technology employed in the Darling Downs power station’s design and construction will cut annual water use to around 200 megalitres compared to more than 8500 megalitres for a conventional water cooled coal-fired power stations.

“The technology employed has been designed to optimise the inputs to electricity generation, including gas and water,” he said.