Good things come in small packages

Traditional dancers officially welcomed the power station which began operating in Wadeye in November. Source: ABC News: Sally Brooks.

Traditional dancers officially welcomed the power station which began operating in Wadeye in November. Source: ABC News: Sally Brooks.

The recent opening of the small but mighty $13.9 million Wadeye Gas-Fired Power Station, located in the Northern Territory, has been praised by locals who had grown tired of the costly and pollutant diesel power station which stood in its place.

Located in the NT town of Wadeye, which has one of the largest remote Aboriginal communities in the country, the power station has a capacity of 1.3 Bcm/a. Its installed general capacity (including redundancy) is:

  • 2 x 2 MW
  • 1 x 1.7 MW
  • 1 x 1.2 MW.

Power and Water Remote Operations designed and constructed the pipeline, using local state and community resources. Cummins Engines constructed the gas generating sets, while APA Group constructed and now operates the gas lateral pipeline and the letdown skid.

Planning for the project commenced in 2006 when project proponent Power and Water Corporation determined that the former diesel-powered Wadeye Power Station could no longer meet the needs of the growing population in the local region. The old diesel power station had reached the end of its life and was costly to run.

With the Wadeye Gas-Fired Power Station now fully operational, the former diesel-powered station will be decommissioned over the dry season.

Local and environmental benefits

NT Minister for Essential Services Willem Westra van Holthe said the major capital works project has the capability to supply power to more than 1,600 homes and businesses.

“It will service the Wadeye community for up to 40 years and will in the future also supply Nganmarriyanga (Palumpa) and Peppimenarti through the grid connection, ensuring residents have access to a reliable electricity network, which has the capacity to support future economic development.

“Environmental benefits will also flow through, with the new station fuelled through a supply pipeline which has been connected to the main Black Tip gas line, removing the need for diesel generation in the Wadeye community.”

Power and Water Corporation Chief Executive Michael Thomson said the remote location meant both projects had faced many challenges. Land access, town planning, stakeholder and diplomatic considerations, the wet season, cyclones and fires were all factored into the construction process and timeline.

“It is a testament to the staff at the Power and Water Corporation that these projects were completed on time and on budget,” Mr Thomson said.

“The hard work will also go a long way towards our goal of halving diesel consumption in communities by 2020.”

The project was formally opened in November 2015.

Enter your details to subscribe to the free fortnightly Gas Today e-newsletter

Thank you for signing up for the Gas Today Online Update.