New power supply for remote WA towns

Friday, 03 June, 2005

A network of environmentally friendly power stations will bring more efficient and reliable electricity supplies to towns in the remote West Kimberly region of Western Australia.

For the past 30 years Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek and Camballin have relied on ageing diesel generators which are unable to satisfactorily meet forecast future power needs of communities in the area. The new power stations, which have involved extensive community consultation, will be fuelled by liquid natural gas (LNG) from a mini LNG plant near Karratha and will bring significant environmental benefits.

Douglas Partners' Perth office was engaged by Energy Developments Limited, the designer, constructor and operator for the developments, to assist with the environmental approval process for the project. The key environmental issues involved in the proposal are potential air and noise impacts, and facility risk.

The power stations will incorporate lean burn natural gas internal combustion engines. Emissions will be controlled and managed using a combination best practice design, practicable technology and monitoring and management during plant operation.

Comprehensive modelling of air and noise impacts was undertaken by Pacific Air & Environment and Herring Storer Acoustics covering emission scenarios including maximum operational plant out up and plant design life.

DP's project manager Terry Waters comments: "We have assisted Energy Developments in obtaining a level of assessment of 'Informal Assessment - Advice Given' from the Environmental Protection Authority for each main part of the project. This has resulted in significant time savings in the environmental assessment process. Modelling has shown that the new plant will achieve a reduction of at least 70% in nitrogen oxide, particulates and sulfur dioxide emissions over the current diesel engines.

"Acoustics modules around the engines and installation of noise attenuation walls will ensure that the plants adequately achieve relevant noise criteria. Additionally there will be no adverse social, cultural, flora/fauna or heritage impacts.

"Overall we believe that the new power plants will enhance community amenity without any detrimental environmental effects."

Construction of the plants will commence early in 2005 and they are expected to be operating by late 2006.

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