A federally funded company has received a major cash injection for a new resources development in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley region.
The Federal Government has committed $600 million for Snowy Hydro’s Hunter Power Project in Kurri Kurri, 35km northwest of Newcastle. This is on top of its earlier $24.9M Budget pledge to help gas generators become hydrogen-ready.
The project involves constructing a new open-cycle gas turbine with a capacity of 660 megawatts. Electricity generated at the plant will offset any power lost from the planned 2023 closure of AGL Energy’s Liddell Coal Power Station in Muswellbrook, 110km northwest of Newcastle.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison believes the project will compensate for less reliable renewable energy technology that heavily depends on weather conditions.
“We have got a lot of renewable energy coming in but, when the wind does not blow in and the sun does not shine, well you need the gas-fired power plants to be able to make up that difference and ensure that you keep the lights on and you keep prices down,” he said in a public statement.
The project will also be quicker and easier to turn off and back on again when additional power generation is required, unlike coal-fired power plants that require longer startup times.
“That means you are using your renewables when you can … but then, you know, the lights go out when you cannot turn one of these things on and, with the others [coal-fired power plants], you have got to keep them running all the time,” he said.
“Gas is a great transition fuel for Australia as part of what we are doing on the changing nature of our energy market.”
QMEB can reveal the work will create up to 600 new direct jobs during peak construction plus a further 1200 indirect positions. None of the vacancies are advertised yet and will later be added to the Snowy Hydro careers website.
Construction is expected to end in late 2023, before the Liddell Coal Power Station shuts down for good.
The gas sector employs more than 900,000 Australians across the nation.
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