The Barker Inlet power station is being built at a cost of $295m. Credit: Wärtsilä.
The power station will have 12 individual units operating as a single dispatchable power station. Credit: Wärtsilä.
The power station will produce 210MW of power. Credit: Wärtsilä.

The Barker Inlet Power Station is a 211MW smart energy generation plant located 18km from the Adelaide central business district (CBD) in Torrens Island, Australia. The power plant site lies beside the existing Torrens Island power station.

AGL Energy Limited (AGL) is developing the $295m project, for which the final investment decision was taken in July 2015. The power plant is being built on land owned by AGL and will replace the ageing units of the Torrens Island power station.

Construction of the project began in February 2018, while commercial operations are expected to commence in the second half of 2019. The facility will generate 200 new jobs during the 18-month construction phase and create more employment opportunities, upon commencing operation.

Barker Inlet power station purpose

The power plant will replace two of the four Torrens A turbines, which are approximately 50 years’ old. The two Torrens A turbines will be decommissioned in September 2019, while the remaining four Torrens B turbines will operate normally.

Development of the power plant is essential to ensure the security of supply to the South Australian region, following the decommissioning of the two units.

Barker Inlet power station details

The Barker Inlet power station will be equipped with 12 Wartsila 50DF reciprocating engines with a capacity of 18MW each. The 12 units will operate individually to form a single dispatchable power station.

The Wartsila 50DF engine has high output and the flexibility of operating on both gas and liquid fuels. Natural gas will be the predominant fuel used to run the engine, which will be capable of using liquid fuel when the supply of natural gas is restricted. The engines will have the capability to provide the same output irrespective of the fuel.

“The new power plant will be 28% more fuel-efficient than the Torrens A turbines and will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by approximately 35-50%.”

The reciprocating power generation technology of the engine is based on the lean-burn principle, wherein the engine operates with excess air in the fuel-air mixture and produces exhaust stream rich in oxygen. The technology also produces only small network capacity step changes during the starting and stopping of the units.

The engine has the capability of achieving full load within five minutes of start-up and is installed with advanced automation system controls. The engine also has high thermal efficiency and uses 20-30% less fuel than other engines.

Gas supply for Barker Inlet power station

AGL will build underground gas pipelines from the existing gas distribution system at Torrens Island power station to supply natural gas to the new power plant.

The gas distribution system will receive gas through the SEAGas pipeline from Victoria’s Otway Basin and the EPIC pipeline.

New fuel gas pipelines and associated gas conditioning equipment will also be installed at the new plant.

Power transmission

The Barker Inlet power station will be connected to ElectraNet’s 275kV network via Torrens Island power station’s existing switchyard.

The connection will be made using buried cable and gas-insulated switchgear equipment.

Contractors involved

AGL contracted Wartsila to supply the reciprocating dual-fuel engines for the plant.

The engines are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2018.

Barker Inlet power station benefits

The existing fuel oil firing capability at the Torrens Island B Station will be taken out of service when the Barker Inlet power station comes into operation. The new power plant will be 28% more fuel-efficient than the Torrens A turbines and will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by approximately 35-50%.

Decommissioning of the Torrens A turbines and use of cleaner fuels at Torrens Island B Station will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comply with the regulatory standards set out in the Environment Protection (Air Quality) Policy 2016.

The project is also expected to reduce the liquid fuel storage volume on the Torrens Island from 16,000t to 1,500t. The project will also conserve water and reduce the discharge of wastewater into the surrounding environment.