Regional council sues over “worthless” geothermal plant

Photo of Winton Shire Geothermal Power Generation plant
Winton Shire Geothermal Power Generation plant

Winton Shire Council has launched legal proceedings against Peak Services over a $4 million geothermal power plant that has never delivered power and is not operational, according to ABC News.

Set to be the only operating geothermal power plant in the country, the Winton Shire Geothermal Power Generation plant and was touted as the beginning of a geothermal windfall for the Queensland region.

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But more than two years after it was constructed, it still hasn’t delivered power and isn’t operational.

“It’s bloody disappointing, to put it mildly, for such a great potential for the water that comes into town,” Winton Shire Council Mayor Gavin Baskett told ABC News.

The plant was designed to use 86 degree Celsius hot water from the Great Artesian Basin to generate electricity to power council buildings and the town’s Waltzing Matilda Centre.

Peak Services, owned by the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), initially estimated that the council could save more than $15 million over the first 20 years of the plant’s operation. 

Construction was finished in 2019 but issues arose in the commissioning stage of the project. 

“There’s no power being delivered to the network at all,” Baskett said. 

“It did become operational, but during that commissioning stage there were problems, so it wouldn’t have been able to maintain operation and definitely wouldn’t have been able to run as anticipated.

“It was just decided just to shut it down and try to rectify these issues.”

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Court documents lodged on behalf of Winton Shire Council allege myriad technical issues and management failures, which the council fears may ultimately make the plant “worthless”. 

Asked for comment, an LGAQ spokesperson said, “As this is live legal matter, it would be inappropriate to provide any comment.”

Read the full story here.

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