Tallawarra A gets upgrade to support energy transition 

tallawarra A (energyaustralia earnings)
Tallawarra Power Station

EnergyAustralia’s Tallawarra A power plant will undergo upgrade works in 2024, with its almost 13-year-old GT26 gas turbine to be replaced with GE’s new HE upgrade.

This solution aims to provide the Tallawarra A power plant, located in Yallah on the western shore of Lake Illawarra in NSW, with a leap forward in efficiency and output, supporting the expected energy demand following the closure of the coal-fired 1.6GW Liddell plant in the Hunter Valley.

Related article: Massive fast-start turbine arrives to power Tallawarra B

NSW requires fast-start gas-fired generation to support renewables growth as coal plants phase out of operations. Before the Tallawarra gas-fired power station commenced operations in January 2009, the site was a 320MW coal-fired power station which operated between 1954 and 1989. Now, it is a combined cycle station with fast-start capability, which produces less carbon emissions than conventional coal-fired power stations. The gas-fired power station’s generation capacity is 440MW—the equivalent power to supply up to 200,000 Australian homes. 

EnergyAustralia project leader Michael Heazlewood said, “We recognise the value of constantly evolving technology. With this innovative upgrade, Tallawarra A will benefit from improved efficiency and reduce carbon emitted per MWh, in line with our goals to accelerate the clean energy transition.

“EnergyAustralia has a great relationship with GE. We are working with GE to construct the adjacent Tallawarra B plant that will operate as Australia’s first peaking plant capable of using a blend of natural gas and hydrogen in its operations. In the future, we envisage the modernised asset powering Tallawarra A may also leverage the infrastructure and hydrogen supply powering the Tallawarra B plant and be able to operate on blends of hydrogen and natural gas as we transition to a lower-carbon energy future.”

GE’s HE upgrade for the GT26 blends cutting-edge technology from GE’s industry-leading F and H class fleets with additive manufactured parts and innovations in aerodynamics, material science and combustion dynamics. The significant performance improvement that the HE solution delivers is attributable to technology breakthroughs across every major component of the GT26 frame—turbine, compressor and combustor, that will help decrease fuel costs while increasing full-load output and extend maintenance intervals. 

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In addition, Tallawarra A power plant maintenance intervals will be extended to 32,000 weighted operating hours which translates to up to 44,000 equivalent operating hours for a typical daily start and stop operating profile, among the longest interval in the industry for this platform.

The upgrade is expected to be operational by mid-2024.

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