A new power station in South Hedland will will supply long-term electricity to meet local demand.

By Rachel Dally-Watkins

14 May, 2015

A new 150 megawatt combined cycle gas power station in South Hedland, WA, will supply long-term electricity to meet local demand through the state-owned Horizon Power network, including Fortescue Metals Group’s operations within Port Hedland.

Station owner, operator and builder TransAlta began construction on the project in March and expected the station to be completed by mid-2016.

Power and automation technology group ABB was awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to provide a substation upgrade solution for connecting the transmission grid to the new South Hedland Power Station.

According to ABB Australia substation business unit manager Markus John, the company’s engineered solution for the substation will provide reliable bulk power capacity and facilitate access to electricity for residential and industry consumers in the remote Pilbara region.

“Mining companies in the region are very much dependant on reliable power generation,” Mr John said.

“These industries have a high fluctuation in demand, depending on the requirements of different sites and the loads of their facility.

“We have seen other mining companies building their own power generation to get the necessary security they need – with this plant, Fortescue has secured reliability and performance for its mine site”.

“Electrical power outages have a huge negative impact on the business and the costs can go into millions of dollars per hour; therefore a highly reliable power supply is crucial..”

“The selection of an ABB engineered solution for this substation augmentation project will provide reliable bulk power capacity and facilitate access to electricity for residential and industry consumers in this remote Pilbara region.”

Currently the South Hedland Temporary Generation plant installation within the Boodarie Industrial Estate, owned by Horizon Power, consists of a number of temporary open cycle gas turbine power generation units, associated equipment and 220 kilovolt high voltage substation facilities.

The existing facilities are to be augmented and integrated into the new permanent power generation and power export facilities to meet the operating requirements of the new TransAlta power station.

“The South Hedland Power Project will be a combined cycle gas plant, which is a reliable, highly efficient, low-cost and clean process of generating electricity,” TransAlta general manager for Western Australia Aron Will said when the project was announced in July last year.

“A combined cycle power plant uses natural gas combustion turbine generators to produce electricity,” he said.

“The hot gases produced from these generators do not immediately vent into the atmosphere, but instead are used to create steam through the heat recovery steam generators.

“The steam in turn powers a steam turbine resulting in the production of additional electricity and increasing the efficiency of the plant.

“Once the steam runs through the steam turbine, it is condensed and returned to the heat recovery steam generators for re-use in the process.”

TransAlta has engaged Jacobs Engineering for the project. Jacobs’ role will include detailed scoping reviews and design oversight as well as providing technical, safety and project management resources during the construction of the facility.

ABB’s scope of work will involve designing, engineering, supplying and commissioning of the substation upgrade and providing air-insulated switchgear, 11/220 kV generator transformer, protection and substation automation modifications.

“The Perth based ABB business unit has the necessary capability in electrical design, project management, installation and commissioning for this kind of substation turnkey projects; this, together with an extensive installed base as reference in the Pilbara is most probably the main reason for the selection of ABB for the project,” Mr John said.