GE Energy opens 630 MW natural gas combined cycle plant in Australia

Denver, November 8, 2010 — Australia’s largest combined cycle power station is operational and providing power to 400,000 Queensland homes while significantly reducing water usage in a drought-prone region and reducing greenhouse gas emissions relative to equivalent coal-fired generation.

In partnership with GE Energy, CH2M HILL, a global full-service consulting, design, construction and operations firm, served as the engineer, procurement, construction contractor for Origin Energy’s ultra-quiet 630 MW Darling Downs Power Station.

“CH2M HILL is proud to have partnered with Origin Energy and GE Energy on this iconic project to provide the residents of Queensland with an electricity solution that is not only price-competitive, but also water supply conscious and air quality efficient,” says Tom Searle, CH2M HILL international president. “Projects such as Darling Downs demonstrate the increasing connectivity between energy, water and climate change, and how the public and private sector can join together to develop innovative solutions that will improve the health of our planet.”

A combined-cycle power plant uses the waste heat from its gas turbines to produce steam to generate additional electricity, saving on energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions relative to traditional coal-fired plants.

The station is fueled with coal seam methane gas and utilizes an air-cooled condenser as the primary cooling system. The result relative to equivalent coal-fired plants is a saving of more than two million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, the equivalent of removing 600,000 vehicles from the road.

With a design that optimizes the air-cooled condenser and a water treatment system that includes two reverse osmosis systems and a wet surface air cooler using waste heat for recycling of plant waste water requires 97 percent less water than a typical water cooled coal-fired power station.

CH2M HILL performed the engineering, design and procurement of the “balance of plant” equipment for the project, integrating with three GE-supplied Frame 9E gas turbine generators, a GE C7 steam turbine generator and three heat recovery steam generators.

Plant construction began in August 2007. During peak construction more than 950 people were working at the remote site located in the Australian bush west of Brisbane with more than two million hours worked without a lost time incident. Over the course of the three year project nearly 2,000 health and safety meetings were held and more than 20,000 hours of training were provided.

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