Dispatchable power station

The $295 million AGL Barker Inlet Power Station designed to demonstrate support for an orderly transition to a carbon-constrained future has begun generating energy. The station will deliver fast-start operation, ramping to full-capacity within five minutes, which allows it to respond to the peaks and troughs of demand more efficiently.

“South Australia is leading the nation in the transition to renewable energy and the Barker Inlet Power Station will have an important role in producing more affordable, reliable and cleaner electricity,” South Australian Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said at the launch.

“AGL’s investment is good news for the affordability and reliability of electricity supplies in South Australia. Modern fast start gas generators burn less gas and provide supply when renewables can’t, meaning lower cost, lower emissions and greater reliability.”

South Australia sources more than half its energy generation from wind and solar resources, and the Liberal government continues the momentum toward renewable energy that was a defining feature of Jay Weatherill’s Labor government.

As South Australia continues to increase its renewable energy generation, sites like the 210MW Barker Inlet Power Station near Adelaide are regarded an important part of the energy mix.

The new investment will help phase out the existing turbines with efficient technology that will produce less greenhouse gas per unit of electricity generated, said AGL chief executive Brett Redman.

“AGL is proud to be the only company in the market to have built a major dispatchable power station since 2012, and the new power station provides the firming capacity the market needs.

“AGL’s new power station will provide more affordable, reliable and cleaner energy for South Australian homes and businesses.

“At AGL we’re building new capacity and firming generation because we know this is what the market needs and today we are delivering on this commitment.”

He says the power station is highly efficient, with generating units capable of operating at full capacity within five minutes of starting, something not capable from older coal and gas power stations.

“This is important, because it will allow us to provide a rapid response to changes in renewable generation supply and demand – particularly wind generation here in South Australia.”

This first generation is part of the testing regime, with full commissioning in the coming weeks.

The power station is part of $2 billion worth of generation and firming projects that are currently in the AGL pipeline to help deliver affordable and reliable power now and well into the future.

Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor who attended the opening event (and has been noticeably absent from solar and wind project launches) emphasised the rapid response time of five minutes that adds reliability to the grid, “ensuring the lights stay on when solar and wind supply decreases.”