Kwinana Power Station
Kwinana power station was a 400-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Western Australia, Australia. The two-unit, 240-MW Kwinana-A was shut down in 2010, and the two-unit, 400-MW Kwinana-C was shut down in 2015.
The map below shows the location of the plant, near Perth, Western Australia.
Background on Plant
Kwinana Power Station (KPS) is owned and operated by Verve Energy, the West Australian government owned generation utility. The power station is located 20 kilometres south of Perth and was commissioned in November 1970. (Verve Energy was later merged into Synergy
The power station was initially designed to run on oil but after the oil price shocks of the 1970's it was converted to burn coal. Later on gas-firing was introduced and in 2005 oil-firing recommenced.
The power station comprised Stages A, B and C and -- along with a 20 megawatt gas turbine -- had a total generating capacity of 900 MW. In December 2008 Stage B was closed. Two high efficiency gas turbines are currently under construction and scheduled to be commissioned by the summer of 2011-12. Stages A and C ran on coal.
Verve Energy had announced that it planned to cease burning coal at the plant by 2008 when gas became available following the completion of the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline (DBNGP). However, due to ongoing uncertainties about gas supply, Verve retreated from the coal-phase out and has announced plans to "continue burning coal at KPS for some years to come issues are resolved".
In early 2008 Verve wrote that "current forecasts indicate that KPS will burn up to 592,000 tonnes of coal per annum until July 2009 (KPS burnt between 452,000 and 549,000 tonnes of coal per annum in the five years to July 2007). It is planned to close the two units in Stage A at KPS in 2010, to which the coal burn is anticipated to drop to about 162,000 tonnes per annum."
Financial and environmental benefits of closure
However the continued operation of the plants became untenable. In April 2015 the plant was closed "approximately six months ahead of schedule." Synergy also noted that the utility "achieved operational savings through the earlier than scheduled closure of the Kwinana" power station. The utility reported that the closure was driven by "market conditions and uneconomic cost of supply."
Synergy also noted that "due to the closure, emissions to air of carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) will reduce across the greater Kwinana site, with only efficient natural gas fired gas turbines remaining in operation."
Generating units (as of Sept 2007)
In its 2008 Environmental Improvement Program Verve Energy set out the history of each of the generating units at the plant. These are:
- Stage A Unit 1 120 MW: Sep 1970 Bunker oil, Aug 1983 Coal, Jun 1987 Gas. The unit currently runs on either coal or gas;
- Stage A Unit 2 120 MW: Nov 1971 Bunker oil, December 1982 Coal, December 1987 Gas. The unit currently runs on either coal or gas;
- Stage B Unit 3 120 MW: Oct 1972 Bunker oil, November 1983 Gas, October 2005 Low sulfur fuel oil. The unit was decommissioned in December 2008.
- Stage B Unit 4 120 MW: Dec 1973 Bunker oil, April 1984 Gas, October 2005 Low sulfur fuel oil. The unit was decommissioned in December 2008.
- Stage C Unit 5 200 MW: Mar 1976 Bunker oil, April 1979 Coal, October 1984 Gas, October 2005. Low sulfur fuel oil. The unit currently runs on Low sulfur fuel oil, Coal or gas.
- Unit 6 200 MW: April 1978 Bunker oil, April 1978 Coal, October 1984 Gas, March 2005. The unit currently runs on Low sulfur fuel oil, Coal or gas.
- 20 MW Gas Turbine. This unit runs on Low sulfur distillate or gas.
Verve Energy states that "Furnace ash (bottom ash) accumulates in hoppers at the bottom of each coal firing boiler furnace where it is hydraulically extracted from the hopper and then put through a crusher and pumped to a lined storage pond on site." Fly ash, which accumulates on the electrostatic precipitator plates. is "removed, slurried and pumped off site through a pipeline to Perron Quarry, which is a licensed disposal facility."
The company states that "to recycle the water component of the slurry and to prevent groundwater contamination from the fly ash disposal, Verve Energy abstracts groundwater down gradient of the quarry for re-use in KPS operations. By pumping recovery bores, Verve Energy is both intercepting the migration of contaminated groundwater offsite and recycling the process water at KPS. A monitoring bore network around the quarry and production (recovery) bores is used to monitor groundwater levels and groundwater quality. The monitoring and hydrogeological reports confirm that the abstraction is successful in intercepting the sulfate plume."
The company also states that "since the 1980s a number of extensions to the quarry walls has increased the storage capacity of Perron Quarry. The storage capacity is approximately 920,000 tonnes and the current level is 800,000 tonnes. Initiatives have been undertaken by KPS to address storage limitations of Perron Quarry. The initiatives that have been explored include the re-use of fly ash for the horticultural industry, as a road building material, as an additive in concrete, and as filler in brick and tile manufacture."
In its 2015-16 Annual report Synergy stated that "following closure of Kwinana power station in 2015, planning has commenced for the rehabilitation of the site and associated Perron Quarry fly ash storage area."
Greenhouse gas emissions
In its 2008 Environmental Improvement Program, Verve stated that "In 2006/07 KPS emitted 1.68 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) at a carbon intensity of 877 tonnes of CO2-e per gigawatt hour of electricity sent out."
- Sponsor: Verve Energy
- Parent company: Verve Energy
- Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia
- Coordinates: -32.1983369, 115.7751554 (exact)
- Status: Kwinana-C: Retired in 2015; Kwinana-A: Retired in 2010
- Gross capacity:
- Kwinana-A: 240 MW (Units 1 & 2: 120 MW)
- Kwinana-C: 400 MW (Units 1 & 2: 200 MW)
- Type: Subcritical
- In service: Kwinana-A: 1970-71; Kwinana-C: 1976-78
- Coal type:
- Coal source:
- Source of financing:
Articles and resources
- Verve to retire Kwinana Power Station Stage C, Government of Western Australia, Jun. 27, 2013
- Kwinana Power Station, Power Technology, accessed November 2018
- Verve Energy, "Kwinana", Verve Energy website, accessed December 2010.
- Verve Energy, "Kwinana Power Station: Coal Burning Environmental Improvement Plan 2008/2009", Verve Energy, February 2008, page 7.
- Synergy, 2014-15 Annual Report", Synergy, page 11.
- Synergy, 2014-15 Annual Report", Synergy, page 33.
- Verve Energy, "Kwinana Power Station: Coal Burning Environmental Improvement Plan 2008/2009", Verve Energy, February 2008, page 9.
- Verve Energy, "Kwinana Power Station: Coal Burning Environmental Improvement Plan 2008/2009", Verve Energy, February 2008, page 10.
- Verve Energy, "Kwinana Power Station: Coal Burning Environmental Improvement Plan 2008/2009", Verve Energy, February 2008, page 25.
- Synergy, 2015-16 Annual Report", Synergy, September 2016, page 10. (Pdf)