EnergyAustralia has begun construction of Tallawarra B, Australia’s first net zero emissions hydrogen and gas capable power plant, near Wollongong.

Construction is due to be completed by the summer of 2023/24.

Tallawarra B is one of several projects the business is developing that contribute to the clean energy transition.

The 316MW power station, being built with the support of the New South Wales Government, will sit alongside the existing Tallawarra A power station on the shores of Lake Illawarra in New South Wales, and pave the way for more renewables to enter the system.

EnergyAustralia’s Chief Operating Officer, Liz Westcott, said the construction’s start is great news for the local area.

“It’s an exciting time for the Illawarra, with the construction phase creating about 250 jobs and expected to deliver a boost to the economy in the hundreds of millions,” Ms Westcott said.

“The cranes, backhoes and concrete pumps helping build Tallawarra B are local, and so are the people that operate them. 

“And where we can, we’re sourcing the plant’s components from local suppliers. It’s a real win for the region.

“Tallawarra B will be stepping in just as Liddell Power Station retires. It will provide quickly dispatchable power for around 150,000 homes when they need it most.

“The new power station will be a first of its kind in Australia – capable of utilising a mix of green hydrogen and natural gas. 

“And the plant’s direct greenhouse gas emissions will be fully offset over its operational life.”

During the current stage of construction, major excavations are taking place ahead of the forming and pouring of the main foundations. In May 2022, the gas turbine will be craned into place on top of the foundation. 

Once the plant is up and running, EnergyAustralia will offer to buy 200,000kg of green hydrogen per year from 2025.

“What’s particularly exciting is that we will be conducting engineering studies to see if the amount of green hydrogen can increase,” Ms Westcott said.

“We’ve made a commitment to be net zero (scope one, two and three) by 2050, to be out of coal by 2040, and to reduce our direct emissions by 60 per cent by 2028/29 relative to 2019-20.

“And the construction of Tallawarra B is just one of the ways we’re making our promises a reality,” Ms Westcott said..

Around 50 people are currently working at the construction site, which will increase to 250 towards the end of 2022. Ms Westcott has said that keeping workers and the community safe during the current COVID-19 pandemic is a priority during the works.

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