Power station trial aims to reduce reliance on coal

A series of trials are being conducted at Eraring to ensure the power station remains the most flexible, reliable and sustainable coal-fired plant in the National Energy Market. 

One of the biggest challenges for Australia as we continue to generate more renewable wind and solar energy, is managing an imbalance in generation between night and day and when the wind isn’t blowing.

Traditionally, power stations such as Eraring – Australia’s largest power station, supplying 20 per cent of NSW’s energy – run 24 hours, seven days a week, providing baseload power to the grid. However, as more renewables come into the market, there will be a surplus of power generated during the day.

The ability for a baseload power stations to cycle on and off reliably, shut down for periods and change output levels rapidly will be critical in supporting high levels of renewable energy and growth in energy storage.

At Origin, we have been conducting a series of trials aimed at ensuring Eraring remains the most flexible, reliable and sustainable coal-fired power station in the National Electricity Market.

The trials have seen an operating unit deloaded, shut down and restarted each day over two three-day periods.

Greg Jarvis, Executive General Manager, Energy Supply and Operations, said the trials were an important step in preparing for the transition to renewables.

“Since 2013, we’ve progressively seen a steady reduction in demand for baseload generation during the day, when solar penetration is at its greatest,” said Jarvis.

“This is a trend that’s set to continue as more large-scale renewable generation projects come online and as the take-up of rooftop solar continues.”

“Eraring will continue play an important role as this trend continues, particularly in the evening when the increase in demand can’t be met by renewables or existing storage technology.  This trial will give us the insights necessary to optimise our operation and make any modifications to the generating units that we believe can help make Eraring one of the most flexible and responsive coal fired generators in the National Electricity Market.” 

“Changes to the way Eraring operates will not only help support the introduction of more renewables but will also result in a reduction in coal consumption which in turn will help reduce emissions.”

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