Last coal-fired power station in South Australia turns out the lights
Summary: Two landmark 10,000-tonne boilers from the last coal-fired power station in South Australia have been blown up in one of the world’s biggest demolitions.....
The blast yesterday was one of the most spectacular sights in Flinders Power’s progressive demolition of the coal-fired power station in Port Augusta. Each boiler was 83m high, 46m long and 22m wide.
The Northern Power Station was forced to close early last year by the rise of renewables in the state.
Premier Jay Weatherill yesterday retweeted, “coal is dead, long live renewables”, although this was not in direct reference to the demolition.
The plant’s closure in May saw hundreds of jobs lost and immediate spikes in the price of power, along with a spate of blackouts, leaving South Australia at the time with the most expensive and unreliable power grid in the country.
Specialist explosive charges were used yesterday to bring down the two boilers, the biggest parts left of the station after police and demolition companies established an exclusion zone around the plant.
Andrew McMahon, general manager of McMahon Services, which is running the project, said the boiler demolition was the biggest phase of the felling work.
“It’s one of the biggest felling projects undertaken in the world, certainly the largest in the southern hemisphere,” he said.
A Flinders Power spokesman said the boilers were brought down using charge-cutting explosives. Further demolition of the boilers will continue using conventional processes.
The station’s facilities manager Kym Maule said the demolition project was tinged with regret.
“It’s a big milestone; some sadness with it but also an exciting part of the project,” he said.
Other key parts of the station, including the turbine generator, were demolished earlier this year.
The demolition came as Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis yesterday opened the Smart Energy Summit in Adelaide.
Mr Koutsantonis criticised the Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee because he said it favoured coal-fuelled generation and assumed renewable energy was the reason for the high cost of electricity.
“It’s a nod and a wink to the coal industry,” he said.
The state Labor government, in power since 2002, is ideologically opposed to coal.
South Australia has one of the highest concentrations of wind and solar power generation in the world.
Yesterday’s summit heard from renewable energy advocates who promised South Australians they would have the cheapest power prices in the country in as little as six months.
Although the state now has some of the lowest wholesale power prices because of increased gas generation, this is yet to flow through to household bills.