Coolimba power station

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Coolimba Power Station was a proposed 450 megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant near Eneabba in Western Australia.

Project location

The map below shows Eneabba, the proposed location for the power station in Western Australia.

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Background

The project was initially promoted by Coolimba Power, a subsidiary of Aviva Corporation. The project would comprise three 150 megawatt coal-fired units plus a "nominal" 358 MW gas-fired plant.[1]

The company estimated that the plant would require 2.3 million tonnes of coal a year from the adjoining Central West Coal Project.[2]

While the proposed power station was approved in July 2010 by the Western Australian Minister for the Environment, Donna Faragher, the project has not proceeded.

The project was contingent on a getting a power purchase agreement from Synergy. However, Synergy rejected Aviva's proposal.[3] Following this, Aviva Corporation decided "to fully write-off the investment" in the project.[4]

The Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency also recommended against approval of the proposed Central West Coal Project which was proposed as the source of coal for the project. In its 2011 annual report Aviva glumly reported that it "no longer has an option over the Central West Coal project."[5]

In February 2013 Aviva sold Coolimba Power to Westgen for $1 million.[4] Westgen describes itself as a "clean energy development company" developing projects in Western Australia.[6]

Even if Western Power could negotiate a power purchase agreement and a coal supply deal, there would seem to be little prospect of the project proceeding within the forseeable future due to the lack of additional demand in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) for additional generation capacity. In June 2014 the Independent Market Operator - which assesses the adequacy of generation capacity to meet forecast electricity load -- stated that "no new capacity will be required in the SWIS until 2023-24" on its expected forecast. [7]

Gas plant

The company is also proposing a 360 MW gas fired power plant at the site as well. In 2008 the company stated that it "hopes to commence construction work on the project in 2009, which will extend over three years for completion in 2012."[8]

Carbon capture ready ... maybe

In a presentation on the project, Aviva stated that the power station would be "built from the outset to be capable of rapid conversion to capture CO2 produced during the combustion of coal ... CO2CRC Technologies have been engaged by Aviva in conjunction with ARC Energy to study the potential for sequestration of CO2 from the Coolimba Power Station in depleted oil and gas reservoirs in the North Perth Basin." The company also states that somewhere between the notional commissioning date of 2012 and 2020 it would complete a "feasibility study for conversion to carbon capture and storage for Coolimba Power Station".[9]

Project approved

In July 2010 the Western Australian Minister for the Environment, Donna Faragher, approved the expansion of the project subject to requiring the power station "to achieve continuous improvement in net greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of advances in technology and process management. This includes consideration of carbon capture and storage and the use of new technologies to improve the efficiency of the generator units."[10]

Project in freefall

Despite touting the project's potential, the company hit major hurdles. In October 2010 the Western Australian energy supplier Synergy announced that Aviva's Coolimba project had not been selected in its independent power procurement program in 2009.[3] In response Aviva -- which listed AES Transpower Australia, a subsidiary of AES Corporation as its "development partner" -- stated that "without support from Synergy or a similarly credit worthy customer, Aviva is unlikely to continue promoting the project in its own right."[11]

In its 2010 annual report the company lamented that "under current energy policy however, it is unlikely that this project will be developed as an Independent Power Project and is more likely to be developed as a captive energy supply for a large resource project. Aviva believes Coolimba Power remains a viable and competitive solution to WA’s growing energy demand, particularly in the Mid West region."[12]

Later in the annual report the company stated that "development as a vertically integrated power source for one or more iron ore project in the mid-west remains the most likely outcome and the Company has pursued this strategy during the year."[13]

Coal mine rejected

In February 2010 the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended that the Environment Minister reject the application for the Central West Coal Project (CWCP), which was proposed to feed the power station.[14]

Aviva have announced that they will appeal the decision. In a media release the company stated that "the EPA Report referred to supporting advice provided to the EPA by government agencies, that Aviva had not previously been shown. After considering the EPA Report and now having reviewed the supporting advice, Aviva has confirmed that it intends to lodge an appeal to the Appeals Convenor."[15]

Ownership of power project and coal rights

The ownership of the coal rights for the Central West Coal Project and the Coolimba Power station is complex. According to Aviva, since November 2009 the company no longer held "an option over the Coal Rights for CWC and has written down its investment in the project. However, after consultation at that time with Sword Nominees Pty Ltd (Sword), the holder of the Coal Rights, Aviva as the proponent of the environmental approval has continued to pursue EPA approval for the CWC project."[15]

"It should be noted that Aviva received approval from the EPA on 10 March 2010, for the gas and coal fired Coolimba Power Project, followed by Ministerial Approval on 17 September 2010. Aviva has entered into an Exclusivity Period with Sigiriya Capital (Sigiriya) under which Sigiriya can acquire Aviva’s interest in this approved Coolimba Power Project. Sigiriya was aware that the EPA decision for CWC was outstanding and at this time has not withdrawn its interest in the Coolimba Power Project. It is Aviva’s understanding that Sigiriya Capital has held discussions with Sword with respect to the CWC rights but Aviva is not a party to those discussions," the company stated.[15]

Aviva offloads project rights to Westgen

In the wake of the setbacks, Aviva decided to offload its interest in the Coolimba Project. In February 2013 Aviva sold Coolimba Power to Westgen. In its 2013 annual report Aviva Corporation states that:[4]

"On 1 February 2013, Aviva entered into a binding sale and purchase agreement ("SPA") to sell its subsidiary Coolimba Power Pty Ltd ("Coolimba Power") to Westgen Pty Ltd ("Westgen"). Coolimba Power held the Coolimba Project approvals and coal intellectual property that were developed as part of the process to proceed with the Coolimba Project. Under the terms of the SPA, Aviva will receive a payment of $1 million if financial close is achieved by Westgen to construct a coal or gas project under the Coolimba project approvals. The transaction was completed on 8 February 2013."

Timeline

  • September 2007: Aviva Corporation's proposal for the power station was referred to the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA);
  • January 8, 2008: EPA announces that the project should be assessed via a public environmental review;
  • March 10, 2010: EPA recommends the power project be approved with conditions;[3]
  • July 2010: Western Australian Minister for the Environment, Donna Faragher, approves the project;[3]
  • October 13, 2010: Synergy announce that Aviva Corporation have not gained a power purchase contract;[3]
  • February 1, 2013: Aviva entered into a binding sale and purchase agreement to sell its subsidiary Coolimba Power to Westgen;[4]
  • February 8, 2013: Sale completed;[4]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Coolimba Power
  • Parent company: Westgen[4]
  • Location: near Eneabba, Western Australia
  • Coordinates:47.783889, 108.372222 (approximate)
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Gross Capacity: 450 MW
  • Type:
  • Projected in service:
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source: Central West Coal Project[2]
  • Source of financing:

Articles and Resources

References

  1. Environmental Protection Agency, "Coolimba Power Station Project, Eneabba: Report and recommendations of the Environmental Protection Agency", March 2010, page 15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Environmental Protection Agency, "Coolimba Power Station Project, Eneabba: Report and recommendations of the Environmental Protection Agency", March 2010, page 4.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Synergy, "Securing Western Australia’s energy future", Media Release, October 13, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Aviva Corporation, "Annual Report 2013", Aviva Corporation, page 4.
  5. Aviva Corporation, "Annual Report 2011", Aviva Corporation, September 2011, page 4.
  6. Westgen, "About Us", Westgen, accessed June 2014.
  7. Independent Market Operator, "SWIS Electricity Demand Outlook – June 2014", Independent Market Operator, June 2014, page 3.
  8. Aviva Corporation, "Coolimba Power Project", Aviva Corporation website, accessed August 2008.
  9. Richard Harris, General Manager – Development, "Coolimba Power: Powering the Mid West and delivering energy security for Western Australia", Presentation to 8th Energy in WA Conference 2008, 13 -14 August 2008.(Pdf)
  10. Minister for the Environment, Donna Faragher, "Minister determines environmental appeals on power stations", Media Release, July 11, 2010.
  11. Aviva Corporation, "Synergy Supply Procurement 2009", Media Release, October 14, 2010.
  12. Tony Iannello, Chairman, Aviva Corporation, "Chairman's Report", in Aviva Corporation Annual Report 2010, October 2010.
  13. Aviva Corporation, "Aviva Corporation Annual Report 2010", October 2010, page 5.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Esmarie Swanepoel, "EPA rejects coal project to feed Aviva power station", MiningWeekly.com, February 9, 2011.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Aviva Corporation, "EPA Report on Central West Coal Project", Media Release, February 11, 2011.

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