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Mortlake Power Station set to energise Victoria

Posted: 16 March 2009

Victorian Premier John Brumby turned the first sod in a ground breaking ceremony today to mark the start of construction of the 550 megawatt (MW), gas-fired Mortlake Power Station, located in south western Victoria.

Origin’s Executive General Manager, Energy Markets Mr Frank Calabria said, "The new $640 million power station, on its completion, will add significant capacity to Victoria’s energy resource."

"Mortlake is a great example of Origin’s strategy of being a fuel integrated generator and retailer. This strategy allows us to better satisfy more of our peak retail demand from our own generation, particularly at this time when the market for peak demand is tightening," Mr Calabria said.

The Premier of Victoria, John Brumby and Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor joined Origin to turn the first sod on construction of the new power station today.

Mr Calabria added "This multi-million dollar construction project will play a significant role in assisting the Victorian Government’s objective of maintaining a secure, efficient and affordable supply of electricity while reducing the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. We regard the project’s social and economic benefits as being of State significance.

"It also contributes to the diversity of generation and gas supply, providing a better-balanced and more secure energy system. All of these benefits are further enhanced by the fact that Mortlake will utilise a local energy resource through its sourcing of Otway Basin gas," Mr Calabria said.

Commenting on the project, Origin’s Executive General Manager, Major Development Projects, Mr Andrew Stock said that Mortlake Power Station would prove a good strategic fit for Victoria’s energy needs.

"Many factors about our modern lifestyle, including the growing demand for household air conditioning – especially during hot summers, have driven a requirement for additional peaking generation capacity," Mr Stock said.

"Mortlake will have the capacity to supply the equivalent of peak power to 250,000 homes, which will provide a substantial boost.

"Mortlake’s open cycle gas turbine technology will provide cleaner peaking power producing approximately 50 per cent lower greenhouse gas emissions than existing brown coal-fired generators.

"With the power station situated close to major loads in western Victoria and beyond, it also reduces the need to transmit power from the Latrobe Valley, which will reduce system losses and further reduce emissions.

"Importantly, Origin has designed the facility to allow conversion of the plant to base load in the future, which would lead to a further significant reduction in emissions intensity," he said.

"From an employment perspective, during the construction phase more than 350 jobs will be created, with a number of people being engaged from the local community. There will also be ongoing permanent jobs associated with the power station when it is commissioned.

"The growing workforce and project requirements will in turn generate additional services and jobs for local business through the supply of goods and services," Mr Stock added.

Bilfinger Berger Services (Aust) Pty Ltd was selected as the major contractor for the construction of the Mortlake Power Station. The contract includes the supply, design, procurement and installation for the civil, structural, mechanical and electrical works. The modern gas turbines powering the station will be supplied by Siemens.

The power station will be supplied with natural gas via a pipeline to be constructed from Port Campbell to the site delivering gas. The pipeline will deliver gas from Origin’s joint venture gas fields in the Otway Basin to Mortlake. The pipeline contract was awarded to AJ Lucas Group Ltd.

Noting that preliminary work on the Port Campbell to Mortlake pipeline is already underway, Mr Stock said the final pipeline corridor had been chosen as the most direct and appropriate route between the source of the gas and the power station.

"The pipeline corridor takes into account many factors including safety and security, direct route access and minimising the impact of construction on the environment," Mr Stock said.

"Throughout the project Origin and the affiliated contractors have adhered rigorously to the environmental impact issues with work on the environmental aspects starting back in 2005," Mr Stock added.

As part of the environmental assessment process, Origin prepared a comprehensive Environment Effects Statement (EES) that involved a range of environmental, cultural heritage, social and economic studies culminating in an approved Environment Management Plan.

In parallel with the formal EES process, a broad community consultation program was undertaken to inform the public and project stakeholders about the project, its progress and most importantly to seek community feedback.

rigin has also been working with the Traditional Owners of the land, seeking their views to ensure that the development sits comfortably with the heritage and values of their community. A cultural heritage survey was followed by an archaeological assessment to ensure that the project was being set up in an appropriate framework which led to a documented Cultural Heritage Plan.

Origin encourages public participation and comment through development, construction and operation of the project.

"We would particularly like to thank the power station's neighbours, local shire councils, government authorities and indigenous groups – the Kirrae Whurrong, Kuuyung Maar and the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust - who have assisted us over the years to develop a power station concept that satisfies the planning, environmental and cultural requirements," Mr Stock said.




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