Alinta Energy gears up Pilbara power station for renewable future

Alinta Energy today announced an expansion of its Newman Power Station to support the increasing penetration of renewables in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

14 high-efficiency natural gas reciprocating engine generating units (Jenbacher J624) will be installed, adding a further 60MW of fast start capacity. The new units will operate to displace older industrial gas turbine units, resulting in an annual estimated net emissions reduction of 100,000t of CO2-e per annum.

Alinta Energy’s Executive Director Merchant Energy, Ken Woolley, said the $95m investment was another step in the company’s plans to improve the carbon footprint of its operations, and support the transition towards a renewables-heavy generation mix in the region.

“We started by installing Western Australia’s biggest battery at the site in 2018, and then announced the ground-breaking Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project with Fortescue Metals Group in 2019.

“Now we’re expanding the Newman Power Station with the latest technology to generate more flexibly, efficiently and affordably, while securing our expanding high voltage network.

“Each of these projects is moving us in the right direction for the Pilbara region to become more interconnected and able to reliably and efficiently welcome more renewables into the mix.

“What’s happening in the Pilbara is exciting because it’s rare globally, let alone in Australia, to have the opportunity to engineer a network from the ground up for a renewable future. That’s also been made possible by our customers and commercial partners working towards the same vision,” he said.

Alinta Energy has awarded Clarke Energy the engineering, procurement and construction contract to deliver the expansion project.

Construction will commence in October 2020 and will be completed in stages, with project completion scheduled for March 2022.

The Newman Power Station supplies major customers including the Roy Hill mine and, on completion of the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid project, Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mines.