• EnergyAustralia announces early closure of brown coal-fired plant, installation of battery

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

What is likely the oldest still-operational power station in Australia is to close four years ahead of schedule, its owners EnergyAustralia announced last week. Yallourn Power Station in the south-eastern state of Victoria began operation in 1928, after the Victorian government began investigating the use of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley in the late 1910s. The current subcritical Toshiba-built units, totalling 1,450 MW in capacity, date from the 1970s and early 1980s, and were scheduled to operate until 2032, but are now scheduled to shut permanently in 2028. As they supply, on average, 22% of the state’s current electricity demand, there are concerns that the state will experience supply issues from 2028 onwards, but a 350 MW four-hour battery planned by EnergyAustralia and due to be operating by 2026 will partially, perhaps, alleviate these concerns.

EnergyAustralia Managing Director Catherine Tanna told reporters that the early closure is a sign of the change in Australian market, saying the “energy market transition is real, and it’s happening fast. It’s fair to say it’s happening faster than most people forecast”. Yallourn is currently the source of 60% of EnergyAustralia’s total carbon dioxide emissions; the company has a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.