The Brigalow Peaking power plant is being developed in Queensland, Australia. Credit: CS Energy.
The plant will be equipped with 12 GE Vernova LM2500XPRESS aeroderivative gas turbines. Credit: GE.
The Brigalow Peaking power plant is expected to commence operations in 2026. Credit: CS Energy.

Brigalow Peaking power plant is a 400MW greenfield natural gas power plant being developed by CS Energy, a Queensland state government-owned utility company, in Queensland, Australia.

The hydrogen-ready power station is designed to deliver fast-start capacity to support the integration of renewable energy sources. The plant will enhance energy security for Queensland residents during high-demand periods with the capability for multiple start/stop cycles per day.

The Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund is providing project funding.

The development plan for the project was unveiled in September 2022, with site selection and initial design and surveys completed in early 2023. The final investment decision is expected in the first half of 2024. Site mobilisation works are expected to commence in late 2024 and the plant is projected to start operations in 2026.

The project aims to provide electricity equivalent to the consumption of more than 150,000 Queensland homes during peak demand periods.

Project location

The Brigalow Peaking power plant is being developed near Chinchilla at the Kogan Clean Energy Hub, near the Kogan Creek Power Station in the Western Downs Region, approximately 260km west of Brisbane.

The strategic location will leverage the existing infrastructure and proximity to the Kogan renewable hydrogen demonstration plant, which is also part of the Kogan Clean Energy Hub, for sourcing green hydrogen.

The Kogan Creek demonstration plant will include a solar farm, battery, hydrogen electrolyser, fuel cell, storage, and out loading facility. The hydrogen electrolyser will be powered exclusively by solar energy, positioning it as one of the few truly renewable hydrogen projects in Australia.

Brigalow Peaking power plant details

The Brigalow Peaking power plant will include a compact power station with an area of 350mx150m and will be equipped with 12 33MW GE Vernova LM2500XPRESS aeroderivative gas turbines.

The turbines have a lightweight design, a small footprint, and a rapid response rate. The LM2500XPRESS technology’s open-cycle configuration facilitates numerous start/stop cycles a day and the capability to reach full power output within five minutes, which enables rapid response to connect to the grid swiftly and maintain prolonged operation.

Such flexibility is crucial for counterbalancing the fluctuating nature of renewable energy production and offering stable capacity to the grid, complementing the functions of batteries and pumped hydro storage.

Moreover, the gas turbines can operate in synchronous condenser mode, providing system stability and grid support during periods of high renewable energy production without consuming gas, allowing the plant to reach full power output within five minutes.

The power plant is planned to be connected to the nearby Banana Bridge substation, which is near CS Energy’s Chinchilla Battery. It will require the construction of a few hundred metres of new transmission line on land owned by CS Energy.

Turbine details

The LM2500XPRESS power plant technology is based on the LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine, which is 95% factory assembled into modules for quick and efficient site installation.

The turbine reduces electrical interconnects by 80% compared to traditional plants and offers flexible and efficient power delivery.

The LM2500 family has more than 120 million operating hours and provides high efficiency, reduced operating costs, low emissions, and dual fuel capability.

The technology is engineered for daily starts and stops, making it suitable for grids with a high penetration of renewable generation. The units for the Brigalow project will be assembled at GE Vernova’s manufacturing centre in Hungary.

Natural gas and hydrogen supply

Natural gas will be transported to the plant via a new 21km twin pipeline, connecting to the existing Roma to Brisbane Pipeline.

One of the pipelines is intended to be adaptable for future conversion into 100% hydrogen fuel, pending further engineering and design studies.

The initial fuel mix will include renewable hydrogen from the Kogan Creek renewable hydrogen demonstration plant, with plans to scale up production through the development of a commercial-scale hydrogen production facility.

Contractors involved

APA Group, an energy infrastructure company based in Australia, is conducting early planning works for the new pipeline on behalf of CS Energy.

GE Vernova, an energy technology company based in the US, was awarded the contract to supply 12 LM2500XPRESS aeroderivative gas turbines for the Brigalow peaking power plant in January 2024.