Callide power station

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Callide power station is an operating power station of at least 1160-megawatts (MW) in Biloela, Queensland, Australia with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating.

Location

Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Callide power station Biloela, Queensland, Australia -24.347222, 150.617115 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Phase B Unit 1, Phase B Unit 2, Phase C Unit 1, Phase C Unit 2: -24.347222, 150.617115

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Phase B Unit 1 operating coal - subbituminous 350 subcritical 1989 2028
Phase B Unit 2 operating coal - subbituminous 350 subcritical 1989 2028
Phase C Unit 1 operating coal - subbituminous 460 supercritical 2001 2038
Phase C Unit 2 mothballed coal - subbituminous 460 supercritical 2001 2038

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Phase B Unit 1 CS Energy Ltd [100.0%]
Phase B Unit 2 CS Energy Ltd [100.0%]
Phase C Unit 1 IG Power (Callide) Ltd [50.0%], CS Energy Ltd [50.0%]
Phase C Unit 2 IG Power (Callide) Ltd [50.0%], CS Energy Ltd [50.0%]

Background

The Callide power station is located 18 kilometres east of Biloela in central Queensland and comprises Callide A, B, and C plants. Callide A was originally constructed in 1965; one of its 30MW units was recommissioned to become home of the Callide Oxyfuel Project. The 2 x 350MW Callide B plant was commissioned in 1989, while the 2 x 460MW supercritical Callide C plant was commissioned in 2001.[1]

The plant underwent an A$49 million program of overhaul and maintenance that was scheduled to last from September 2018 to December 2018.[2]

In 2018, The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) estimated that Callide-B will operate for the duration of its 50-year life cycle, or until 2039.[3]

However, in October 2019 it was reported Callide-B will now close in 2028, not 2039 as originally planned.[4]

Callide-C is planned for retirement in 2038.[5]

Proposed ownership changes

In March 2024, CS Energy proposed to acquire the 50% interest in Callide C belonging to IG Power (Callide).[6] If completed, the ownership transfer would make CS Energy the sole owner of 100% of the power station's interest (via its wholly owned subsidiary Callide Energy Pty Limited).

Explosion and outages

On May 25, 2021, there was an explosion at the Callide-C power station, which triggered a fire in one of the turbine halls and caused three units to go offline, triggering major power outages across Queensland. In total, about 470,000 customers were affected.[7] CFMMEU Mining and Energy Vice President Shane Brunker stated that repairs to the plant could take "months, if not years" and would cost millions of dollars.[8] Bunker also called the incident a "catastrophic failure" and a "worst-case scenario". A spokesman for Energex, Danny Donald, stated that he had not seen such a bad blackout in his 15 years in the industry.[9]

In July 2021, CS Energy announced that Unit 4 would not be brought back online until December 2022.[10] In May 2022, CS Energy said that Unit 4 would be rebuilt and operating again by February 2023.[11]

In November 2022, a structural failure occurred when part of the cooling equipment collapsed in Callide-C. The remaining 460 MW unit would be offline for 3 weeks, meaning the entirety of Callide-C was inoperative.[12] The next day, a safety protection system detected a heat pump issue in Callide-B; the B units proceeded to trip and the entire power station was offline for at least two days.[13]

As of March 2023, both units at Callide-C were reportedly still completely offline, and had been so since October of 2022.[14] At the time, a CS Energy statement had confirmed that efforts were still underway to get both units of Callide-C back up and running normally.[14]

A March 2023 report released by CS Energy publicized new estimates for the return dates of the two Callide-C units. For Unit C-3, it was estimated that a capacity of 300 MW would be available in September 2023, and 466 MW would be available by December 2023. For Unit C-4, the following available capacities were estimated to be ready by the following dates:

  • 31 Oct 2023 – 300 MW
  • 30 Nov 2023 – 350 MW
  • 31 Jan 2024 – 466MW [15]


While CS Energy assured the public that the units would be back in service near the end of 2023, the plant's co-owner Genuity (formerly InterGen) reportedly underwent voluntary administration following shareholders' disagreement regarding "the venture's future funding." [16]

In May 2023, CS Energy again revised their estimates for the return dates of the two Callide-C units, citing the "complexity of rebuilding the cooling towers, the risks of supply chain issues and recommissioning the new C4 generator and turbine." Unit C-3 was expected to be back at 50% capacity by January 2024, and at 466 MW in February 2024. Unit C-4 was expected to be at 50% capacity by May 2024, and at 420 MW by July 2024.[17]

According to reporting from October 2023, CS Energy had paid a A$67,800 (US$43,200) fine for operating Callide C without regulatory approval when the 2021 explosion crippled the units and destabilized the grid.[18]

In an update from January 2024, CS Energy stated that weather-related "work stoppages" had delayed the return dates of the Callide C units. Unit C-3 was expected to return to full power by the end of March 2024, and Unit C-4 was expected to return to full power by the end of July 2024.[19]

In January 2024, stakeholder Sev.en Global Investments launched legal action in the Federal Court of Australia requesting the appointment of a special administrator to investigate the failures of the two units at Callide C.[20] The court agreed to the request and ordered a new investigation.[21]

In February 2024, the Australian Energy Regulator launched legal proceedings against the operator of Callide C for allegedly breaching market rules and not meeting performance standards.[22] The proceedings were ongoing in March 2024.[23]

As of early 2024, CS Energy expected Units C3 and C4 to be gradually powered back up to full capacity by March and July 2024 respectively.[24]

Articles and Resources

References

  1. CS Energy, "Callide", CS Energy website, accessed June 2011.
  2. Callide power station to undergo $49 million overhaul, Central Telegraph, Sep. 3, 2018
  3. 2018 Integrated System Plan, AEMO, Jul. 17, 2018
  4. "Qld to close coal-fired power station a decade early," Financial Review, Oct. 7, 2019
  5. Labor searches for the right medicine in Queensland climate campaign, Sydney Morning Herald, Apr. 25, 2022
  6. CS Energy Limited - Callide C, ACCC, March 13, 2024
  7. Lucy Stone,What happened at Queensland's Callide Power Station and will we lose power again?, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, May 25, 2021
  8. Kylie Stevens, Explosion at Queensland power station will take 'years' to repair, Australia Associated Press, May 25, 2021
  9. Emma Pollard, Queensland blackout to be investigated after fire at Callide Power Station cuts power to large parts of the state, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, May 25, 2021
  10. Callide power unit won’t return until December 2022, Australian Financial Review, Jul. 7, 2021
  11. One year on from Callide Power Station fire, answers are still being sought, ABC, May 25, 2022
  12. 'Structural failure' at Callide Power Station near Biloela leaves unit offline, ABC, November 1, 2022
  13. Callide Power Station in central Queensland completely offline, ABC, November 3, 2022
  14. 14.0 14.1 Fresh blow for Queensland coal, as shareholder dispute topples Callide C co-owner, Renew Economy, March 27, 2023
  15. UPDATED RETURN TO SERVICE DATES FOR CALLIDE C GENERATING UNITS, CS Energy, March 8, 2023
  16. Co-owners of troubled plant in voluntary administration, PerthNow, March 24, 2023
  17. "UPDATED RETURN TO SERVICE DATES FOR CALLIDE C GENERATING UNITS - 30 MAY 2023," CS Energy, May 30, 2023
  18. "Callide coal generator was being operated without approval when it blew up in 2021," Renew Economy, October 18, 2023
  19. "Update on Progress in Returning Callide C Power Station to Service," CS Energy, January 15, 2024
  20. "Czech coal baron slams Queensland government ahead of legal showdown," Australian Financial Review, January 17, 2024
  21. "Federal Court orders fresh investigation into explosion at central Queensland's Callide C power station," ABC News Australia, January 28, 2024
  22. "Callide Power Trading Pty Ltd: alleged breaches of the National Electricity Rules," Australian Energy Regulator, February 9, 2024
  23. The Callide C explosion lands in court: a confluence of contentious consequences, Lexology, March 25, 2024
  24. Update on Progress in Returning Callide C Power Station to Service, CS Energy, January 17, 2024

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.