National drought threatens coal powered electricity

Dwindling water reserves caused by the drought are raising concerns for the Victorian government and power companies about interruptions to coal powered generators in the Latrobe Valley, which provide about 90 per cent of the state’s electricity, says The Australian Financial Review (10/3/07, p. 4).

Inquiry launched: The government, three generation companies and Gippsland Water have launched an inquiry to find ways of securing long-term supplies for five generators and two peaking stations. “We need to think about how me might augment our water supply well into the future," Gippsland Water chief executive John Mitchell said.

Using reserve dam: Power companies warn they might have to "consider other arrangements" if there was no major rainfall in the next five months. Falling volumes in the Tanjil and Latrobe rivers, traditionally tapped for water to cool generators or for the plant’s boilers, have led Loy Yang Power and TRUenergy Yallourn to tap the Blue Rock Dam, which is at about 60 per cent capacity.

Contingency plans: A spokesman for Energy Minister Peter Batchelor said the government was developing contingency plans to ensure the generators could secure water supplies. “We are consulting closely with the generators to review needs and secure required water supplies,” he said.

No immediate threat: A TRUenergy spokeswoman said: “It is the first time we have had a major drought in Gippsland.” "There is no immediate threat to power generation but we are taking a cautious approach by engaging with government well in advance of any impact."

The Australian Financial Review, 10/3/2007, p. 4

Source: Erisk Net  

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