The Tallawarra power station as seen at sunset.

Energy giants rev up gas-fired Tallawarra and lay the slab for hydrogen as Forrest’s floating LNG takes shape

Energy Australia says it has increased output at its Tallawarra power station on the shores of Lake Illawarra to more than double standard capacity in response to tight gas market conditions.

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen convenes a meeting of state and territory energy ministers on Wednesday as gasoline prices soar across the country.

Resources Minister Madeleine King negotiated with producers to get more gas into the system.

The Tallawarra gas-fired combined cycle power plant has the potential to generate 435 megawatts of electricity.

In an average year, Tallawarra typically operates at around 20% of full capacity.

So far this year it’s around 60% and last month it’s around 75%.

A spokesperson for Energy Australia said it was continuing to work with suppliers and other stakeholders to ensure there were sufficient gas supplies to meet customer needs.

This included supporting existing gas customers and new customers transferring through the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Retailer of Last Resort (RoLR) agreements.

It was also continuing construction of the Tallawarra B hydrogen and gas capable power station with a capacity of over 300 MW at the same site.

In April, 735 cubic meters of concrete were poured for the project’s gas turbine slab.

He said the Tallawarra B project would be ready for the summer of 2023-24, before the planned withdrawal of the Liddell power station.

Another project it was pursuing near Lithgow in the mid-west of the state proposes to use the Lake Lyell Dam, which supplies water to the Mt Piper Power Station, to form a new pumped hydroelectric station of 335 MW with eight hours of storage.

The proposal is meeting with opposition due to concerns about its impacts on biodiversity and tourism.

Floating gas terminal is a better option than new gas fields

Australian billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s energy consortium has weighed in on the national conversation about tensions in the gas market and is urging governments not to approve any new coalfield gas fields, including Santos’ Narrabri gas project.

His company, Australian Industrial Energy, has won approval for a floating gas import terminal at Port Kembla.

Squadron Energy is continuing work on its Port Kembla floating gas terminal.(Provided: Squadron Energy )

It is currently rebuilding a quay in the port and is working on onshore facilities, including connection to the existing Easter Gas Pipeline, after signing a contract for a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) with a Norwegian company in November 2021 .

Australian Industrial Energy chairman John Hartman said that since the invasion of Ukraine, FSRU vessels have been in high demand.

“Our decision to introduce FSRU in Australia for the PKET (Port Kembla Energy Terminal) is highly dependent on the commitment of gas retailers to use PKET,” Mr Hartman said.

He said the company expects its construction to be completed by the end of 2023.

He also argued that the Port Kembla project was the best way forward for the country.

“The PKET is an energy security project that will enable critical energy supply.

“This will help address the short-term supply and transportation constraints of the East Coast market, but with infrastructure that can quickly transition to green hydrogen and other green energy uses when the time comes.

“Investment in new gas projects only prolongs our dependence on fossil fuels.”

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