The owner of Victoria’s Yallourn coal-fired power station says it is doing everything it can bring its fourth generating unit back to service before it is forced to take another one offline to deal with an emerging maintenance issue.
As the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) starts winding back a series of emergency measures across the grid because of the diminishing threat of blackouts, EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn generator in the Latrobe Valley has had to delay the return of one week of its units a longer than originally planned.
“Another generating unit will come offline in the coming week to fix an emerging maintenance issue, and we are doing all that we can to sequence this after our current offline unit returns,” EnergyAustralia managing director Mark Collette said.
“We are prepared for any unplanned outages – our gas-fired assets continue to operate at seven times their normal volume compared with last year, serving a major role in keeping the lights on for all customers.”
EnergyAustralia’s 1480-megawatt Yallourn power station supplies about 20 per cent of Victoria’s electricity.
The news comes after the east-coast electricity system was thrown into chaos last week, forcing AEMO to seize control of the market for the first time in its history to stabilize power supplies and avert intensifying threats of blackouts in multiple states.
Many power generators said they could not remain viable under restricted caps that AEMO had imposed to halt surging wholesale electricity prices, prompting them to withdraw offers to supply the grid.
But supply has since come surging back, AEMO said, with around 4000 megawatts, or about one-fifth of the electricity grid’s average demand, coming back online in the past week following withdrawals, planned outages and some technical failures at coal-fired power stations .