Return to service delays for Callide C generating units

Demolition equipment alongside the Unit C3 cooling tower at Callide C
Demolition works have started on the Unit C3 cooling tower

CS Energy has advised there will be further delays for the return to service of Units C3 and C4 at Callide C Power Station following advice from independent technical experts on the cooling tower rebuild project.

CS Energy owns Callide C in a joint venture (JV) with Genuity and operates Callide C on behalf of the JV.

The revised return to service dates reflect CS Energy’s priority of returning Unit C3 for the peak summer demand period in early 2024, then conducting the more complex re-commissioning of the rebuilt Unit C4.

Related article: Callide’s return to full capacity delayed until 2024

Acting CEO Andrew Varvari acknowledged that historically the performance of the JV owned Callide C generating units had not been good enough and must be improved.

“CS Energy is acutely aware of the importance of reliable generation from coal-fired generators such as the Callide C Power Station, particularly at a time of high gas and coal prices and with reducing coal generation across the energy sector,” Varvari said.

“We have been working with the Administrators of IG Power (owners of Genuity) to progress the safe and timely return to service of the Callide C units and are doing everything we can to have the units safely back up and running as soon as possible.

“The demolition and rebuild of the C3 and C4 cooling towers, and the subsequent recommissioning of the units is a highly complex project, further complicated by our JV partner being in an Administration process.

“Work started on site earlier this month to demolish the C3 cooling tower, with nine cells demolished to date, and this will be followed by the demolition of the C4 cooling tower.

“We have completed the bulk of the rebuild works on Unit C4 following the incident in May 2021 and introduced improvements to make the site safer.

“New management is in place in key areas of the business to improve the performance of the Callide C units along with a targeted maintenance program and an independent review of our asset management plans and practices for all of our thermal units.”

After receiving revised tenders for the cooling tower rebuild project earlier this year, CS Energy appointed independent experts E3 Advisory to review the program of works. Based on their advice, CS Energy has updated the project schedule to better factor in the complexity of rebuilding the cooling towers, the risks of supply chain issues and recommissioning the new C4 generator and turbine.

Related article: CS Energy completes bulk of rebuild on Unit C4 at Callide

The rebuild of the cooling towers is a complex project. It not unusual for generators to adjust their return to service dates for units that are undergoing major maintenance or repairs, depending on issues identified during the process.

Callide Power Station has a permanent workforce of 243 people and is comprised of two power plants, Callide B and C, each with two generating units (B1 and B2, C3 and C4).

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