Alinta Energy is seeking a permit for a 300-megawatt gas-fired power station to be built about one hour north of Adelaide at a cost of $450 million, just over a year after closing coal-fired stations at Port Augusta.
It is drafting a development application for a six-turbine natural-gas-fired plant at Reeves Plains, although it says the first stage will likely result in a 100 to 150MW plant with up to three turbines.
Alinta Energy, which ran the coal-fired Playford A and B and Northern Power stations at Port Augusta before closing them all by 2016 due to “unfavourable market conditions”, said the project has not been put off by the SA Government’s own intervention into the electricity market.
This includes plans to build a 250MW gas-fired power station, and a 100MW lithium battery being built by Tesla and French company Neone, which are designed to improve energy security after a string of blackouts and skyrocketing electricity prices have shaken the state’s confidence.
“Alinta energy believes that the proposed development complements the measures being taken by the South Australian Government,” the spokesperson said.
“The proposal is a positive in terms of energy security and system stability.”
Residents voice pollution concerns
Not everyone has viewed the project positively, however, with some local residents concerned about pollution and changes to land value.
Resident Crystal Molloy said she and others moved to Reeves Plains for the scenery and fresh air “not to have a power plant in front of us”.
“I’ve got three young kids and we’ve got rainwater … the emissions are going to get in our rainwater,” she said.
“It might not show up straight away. It might be 20 years down the track they trace it back to the power plant.”
She was also worried about the noise from turbines and the lights at night.
Another resident, Jason Garnett, said neighbours were losing sleep and had anxiety about the future of their region and prices of their land.
He was concerned diesel fuel could be used to run turbines which could pollute local agriculture.
“They might break up the molecules with a catalytic converter to make them smaller … it becomes really easy to absorb into your skin and airways,” Mr Garnett said.
He said a few months ago the Government promised there would be no subdivisions in the area within two years to protect the food bowl, but now there’s plan for this station.
Community feedback sessions to be held
Adelaide Plains councillor Rob Veitch said values of properties could go either way if the station goes ahead.
He said if the plant creates more jobs, the value of properties could increase.
The Alinta Energy spokesperson said community feedback sessions would be held in two weeks before the development application was submitted.
She said ecological and cultural heritage studies would be conducted.
“This includes compliance with noise, air, water and planning policies as well as assessing and consulting on any visual amenity, traffic and stakeholder implications to ensure any potential impacts are minimised,” the spokesperson said.