Northern Augusta power station

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Northern Augusta power station, also known as the Northern power station, is a 520-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in South Australia, Australia.

Northern Augusta power station and the related Playford power station are together known as the Port Augusta Power Stations. Playford was shut down in 2015, and Northern Augusta in May 2016.[1]


The map below shows the location of the plant, in Port Augusta, South Australia.

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Background on Plant

The Northern Power Station is located in Port Augusta, South Australia. The power station is operated by Flinders Power, a subsidiary of Alinta Energy. It uses brown coal, was commissioned in 1985 and generates 520 megawatts. The sole supply of coal for the power station is supplied from the Leigh Creek mine, 280 kilometres to the north.[2]

Fading away

Alinta Energy, which bought the power station in 2006, describes it as being a "baseload" supplier to the power grid.[2] The Australian Energy Market Operator reports that the level of utilisation of the plant in recent recent has slumped from an average of over 90% in the three years from July 2006 to just under 59% in 2011/12.[3] AEMO also reports that Alinta has advised it that the Northern Power Station will be "fully operational in the summer but only available over the next two winter periods after a recall time of three weeks. From October 2014 Northern Power Station will return to normal operation all year."[4]


On 11 June 2015, Alinta Energy announced its intent to permanently close the power station by March 2018, along with the related Playford Power Station, and the Leigh Creek coal mine that supplies them both with fuel.[5] This was updated on 30 July 2015 to bring the closure dates of all three facilities forward by 12 months, with closure to occur between March 2016 and March 2017.[6]

On 7 October 2015, Alinta Energy announced that Northern and Playford B would close around 31 March 2016.[7] In January 2016, Alinta announced that the closure date had been set back to 8 May 2016.[8] Demolition of both stations and site remediation work is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.[9]

Handout from carbon tax package

Alinta Energy received $59,482,064.73 of the $1 billion cash payments given out in 2011/12[10] to the operators of the most polluting coal-fired power stations. The cash was paid from the Energy Security Fund which was established as a part of the carbon tax legislation passed in 2011.[11][12] Alinta sought the payment for the "Augusta power stations" inferring it was for both the Northern Power Station and the Playford power station.

Environmental impact

Since the plant's retirement in 2016 residents of Port August have continued to report respiratory problems due to dust from the site.[13] The area around the plant had been capped with 15 centimetres of soil and planted seedlings, but low rainfall and an absence of irrigation are exacerbating the spread of dust.[13]

Greenhouse gas emissions

In 2010 it was estimated that the Northern Power Station emitted 3.42 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.[14]

Plant Details

  • Sponsor: Alinta Energy Ltd
  • Parent company: Alinta Energy
  • Location: Port Augusta, South Australia, Australia
  • Coordinates: -32.5425183, 137.7878496 (exact)
  • Status: Retired (2016)[15]
  • Gross capacity: 520 MW (Units 1 & 2: 260 MW)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • In service: 1984-85
  • Coal type:
  • Coal source: Leigh Creek coal mine
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. "Last coal-fired power generator in South Australia switched off," Renew Economy, May 9, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 Alinta Energy, "Flinders", Alinat Energy website, accessed December 2010.
  3. Australian Energy Market Operator, "2012 South Australian Electricity Report", August 2012, page 17.
  4. Australian Energy Market Operator, "2012 South Australian Electricity Report", August 2012, page 22.
  5. "Alinta Energy to close power stations at Port Augusta and coal mine at Leigh Creek". ABC Online. 2015-06-11. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
  6. "Latest Electricity and Natural Gas News | Alinta Energy". Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  7. "Flinders Operations Update | Alinta Energy". Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  8. "Alinta extends Port Augusta power station closure deadline - InDaily". InDaily. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  9. "Alinta Energy announces demolition plans for Port Augusta power stations". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  10. Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency,"Generation complexes eligible to receive Energy Security Fund cash payments", Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website, July 9, 2012.
  11. Australian Government, "An overview of the Clean Energy Legislative Package", Clean Energy Future website, accessed January 2013.
  12. Energy Security Council, "About the Council", Energy Security Council website, accessed January 2013.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Port Augusta Power Station clean-up leaves residents dust-covered and disappointed, ABC, Apr. 16, 2018
  14. The Climate Group, Greenhouse Indicator Series: Australian Electricity Generation report 2007 – 2010, The Climate Group, October 2011, page 21. (Pdf)
  15. "Retirement of coal fired power stations, Interim report," Environment and Communications References Committee, The Senate, November 2016, Table 2.2

Related articles

External resources

External articles