Energy retailer Alinta Energy is proposing to build a $450 million gas power plant at Reeves Plains, which the company says, could provide electricity assurance to local residents in times of peak power demand.
Once operational the company says the plant will supply up to 300 megawatts of power at peak times from the 40-hectare site on the corner of Redbanks Road and Days Road, approximately 12 kilometres south-east of the Mallala township.
Giving a deputation to Adelaide Plains Council (APC) councillors on Monday June 19 was Alinta’s manager of business development, Huw Adler, and general manager of power development Gary Bryant; along with Greg Harrison of consultancy firm Arcadis.
Mr Adler told councillors the plant would have an operational life of 25 years and consist of six individual turbines, which would provide power to the grid during peak demand.
Mr Adler said the company wished to consult with local residents about the project and had set up an information line and website.
The Reeves Plains Power Station is scheduled to be in operation by January 2019, with a construction period of 12 months.
Highlighting the company’s desire to complete a variety of studies by mid-July was consultant Greg Harrison. Mr Harrison said the studies would cover a range of topics including air quality, traffic and transport, ecology and environment, noise, and cultural heritage, with Alinta looking to lodge its formal development application to council in mid-August.
Alinta’s next steps, he said, included securing a grid connection agreement with Electranet, appointing an EPC contractor, obtaining Environment Protection Authority approvals and consulting with the local community.
“In terms of driving down electricity prices and providing security of supply, we think this project gets a big tick,” he said.
Speaking after the deputation, Mr Bryant said the proposal could create possibly hundreds of jobs in the construction phase and six permanent jobs once up and running, and was an important project for the state taking into account recent electricity blackouts.
“This satisfies everything that people want concerning electricity,” Mr Bryant said.
“They (residents) are looking for high quality supply, a competitive price and assurity in times of blackouts.”
My Bryant said the company was looking to re-enter the power generation market, starting in South Australia.
“It’s a market we really do see a need to invest in some power generation,” he explained.
“And when coupled with the South Australian government energy security targets and energy security programs, we decided to really pull the trigger on development activities and start the process.”
APC development and community general manager, Rob Veitch, says the project could bring many positives to the area and agreed providing electricity assurance was a key factor.
“The project is economic development and jobs that council welcomes, as part of security for state power generation,” Mr Veitch said.
Mr Veitch said the site of the proposed power station fell within the planned Northern Food Bowl Protection Areas Development Plan Amendment, however its impact would be “minimal”.
“In fact if anything, it will assist with increased energy consumption needs, as the Food Bowl develops,” he said.
Adelaide Plains Ratepayers and Residents Association president, and Mallala farmer, John Lush, who was present at the deputation, cautiously welcomed the announcement, saying at this stage more information was needed to make an informed opinion about the project. “The devil is in the detail,” Mr Lush said.
“We would want to see more information about the project from Alinta (but) on the face of what was proposed tonight it sounds like it could be a positive thing.
“Electricity is so important.”
Member for Goyder, Steven Griffiths, was also present at Monday night’s APC meeting and agreed electricity supply was a priority for any government right now.
Mr Griffiths said he understood the proposal is to become a Section 49 Major Project, which means a decision will be made by the Development Assessment Commission and will involve a substantial high level review, including an Environment Impact Statement, and opportunities for local input to happen.
“A stable electricity generation system in SA is a key to stable electricity costs,” he said.
“I commend Alinta Energy on pursuing the Reeves Plains project and become a base load / peaking plant generator locally.”
The proposed Alinta site will also include a wastewater treatment facility, as well as water storage and distribution facilities and on-site diesel back-up fuel.
If you wish to follow the Reeves Plains Power Station proposal and have you’re your say, the information line number is 1300 311 040 or visit www.alintaenergy.com.au/about-us/power-generation.