Towers tumble at Wallerawang Power Station

Towers being demolished at Wallerawang Power Station
Towers being demolished at Wallerawang Power Station

Energy Australia‘s Wallerawang Power Station—one of the oldest coal-fired power plants in New South Wales—has been partly demolished, with its 175m tall smokestacks disappearing in a plume of dust.

A 15-second explosion saw the chimney towers of the old Wallerawang station disappear from the Lithgow skyline as spectators watched from a safe distance.

Wallerawang was first erected in 1957, at the height of Lithgow’s mining boom, with thousands of locals employed in the industry. 

The station supplied up to 15 per cent of the state’s power, being one of the largest and oldest in New South Wales. The town itself was built for and around the station, which was shut down in 2014 after more than five decades of operation.

Today, just over 800 people have jobs in surrounding mines and at the nearby Mount Piper Power Station. 

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A company which saves stranded fossil fuel assets, Greenspot, purchased the Wallerawang plant from Energy Australia last year and will turn it into a renewables hub, which requires the removal of most of the site’s infrastructure.

Greenspot CEO Brett Hawkins told ABC News the iconic pieces of infrastructure had provided opportunities for generations of locals in the area. 

“Sites like this are the fabric of the community, so when they are demolished what we’re looking at is tackling the challenges of how these sites can be meaningfully repurposed,” he said.

The goal of the demolition was to “reinstate the power station as the heartbeat of the community”, he said. 

Greenspot is a joint venture between the owners of Borg and Bettergrow, two leading Australian businesses headquartered in New South Wales.