EnergyAustralia plans to invest more than A$80m ($55.8m) to upgrade its Mt Piper power station near Lithgow, New South Wales (NSW).

The investment will see the expansion of the plant capacity by 60MW, which will be enough to power an additional 55,000 NSW homes.

EnergyAustralia managing director Catherine Tanna said: “Last year the community celebrated 25 years of Mt Piper providing reliable power to homes and businesses across New South Wales.

“Now we’re investing $80m to help make sure the plant is around for another quarter century, and it’s as efficient as it can possibly be. The upgrade means Mt Piper will be able to power an additional 55,000 homes without burning a single, additional lump of coal.”

Toshiba International Corporation (TIC), an Australian subsidiary of Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS), has been selected by EnergyAustralia to carry out the upgrade works.

The upgrade will see a majority replacement of the internal componentry of the plant’s two 700MW turbines.

This project is expected to be completed in 2020 and 2021, thereby enhancing each unit’s capacity by 30MW without the requirement to burn more coal.

The Mt Piper power station upgrade is expected to create nearly 100 new employment opportunities in the region.

Toshiba ESS Power Systems Division director and senior vice-president Takao Konishi said: “We are proud to be part of this project that will provide greater reliability in power supply.

“We will continue to contribute to supplying a clean and reliable source of power for New South Wales by providing our advanced technology and excellent performance of our works.”

With 1,400MW nameplate generation capacity, Mt Piper power station has the ability to meet 15% of NSW’s electricity demand.

Additionally, the power plant supports intermittent types of power such as solar and wind as these sources are integrated into a modern energy system.

EnergyAustralia, in partnership with Centennial Coal, will also be investing A$200m ($139m) for the water treatment facility to treat mine water from the Springvale coal mine and re-use in the cooling system of Mount Piper.

In addition, EnergyAustralia is investigating rail transport options to diversify coal supply to the power station.