Tallawarra B – Australia’s first gas-peaking power station with total emissions offset over its operational life – provides the New South Wales electricity system with a major new flexible capacity asset supporting system reliability as more renewables enter the system and coal-fired power stations retire, says EnergyAustralia.

Equipped with a GE Vernova 9F.05 gas turbine, Tallawarra B is the first dual-fuel capable natural gas/hydrogen power plant in operation in Australia. EnergyAustralia expects to operate the plant on a blend of 5% (by volume) green hydrogen and natural gas in 2025 subject to the development of a hydrogen production industry of an appropriate size and scale.

Indeed, Tallawarra B is anticipated to be the first 9F gas turbine to operate on a blend of natural gas and hydrogen globally. The 9F turbine has good dual-fuel capabilities, able to burn two types of fuel at the same time.

Following the closure of the Liddell coal-fired 1680 MWe plant located in the Hunter Valley region after 52 years of operation in April 2023, the Tallawara B plant will deliver capacity to partially replace the power that is no longer produced by Liddell. In addition, Tallawara B can provide high operational flexibility needed during peak demand periods: the plant can start up rapidly when needed to stabilise the power grid and can utilise a blend of green hydrogen to decrease its emissions footprint.

“Tallawarra B is the first gas-fired power station built in New South Wales in over 10 years. The new station will play a vital role in the energy transition, providing flexible and reliable energy during periods of peak demand or low supply. Tallawarra B enables and complements more renewables entering the system as coal-fired power stations retire” said Mark Collette, Managing Director of EnergyAustralia. “Gas will continue to play a vital role firming renewables in the energy transition. We are positioning both Tallawarra stations [A and B] to play a long-term role in New South Wales’ energy future and our own plans to achieve net zero by 2050. Our ambition is for green hydrogen to enable zero emissions flexibility capacity at Tallawarra. We are already investing to enable hydrogen usage at Tallawarra.”

“Tallawarra B power station demonstrates the substantive role that gas technologies can play in reducing carbon emissions, ensuring reliable electrical supply, and fighting climate change,” said Ramesh Singaram, President and CEO, Asia of GE Vernova’s Gas Power.

For the Tallawarra B project, GE Vernova also provided an A78 generator, a generator step-up transformer, a Mark* Vie control system and gas turbine accessories packaged in modules, which reduced on-site installation work while offering simpler and faster serviceability for the plant operator.

Among investments in safety for aircraft using the nearby Shellharbour Airport, Tallawarra B’s exhaust stack is equipped with an innovative $13 million 54 tonne plume dispersion device, and the plant also has real-time plume monitoring.

Tallawarra B is located next to EnergyAustralia’s existing Tallawarra A plant. A $90 million upgrade of Tallawarra A, which employs a GT26 gas turbine installed about 13 years ago, is due to start in April 2024. To be carried out by GE Vernova, this will be what is known as an HE (High-Efficiency) upgrade, introduced by GE for the GT26 fleet in 2019. The first HE upgrade in Australia, it will increase installed capacity from 440 MWe to 480 MWe, while also “enabling the use of up to 37% green hydrogen as fuel when it becomes commercially available,” says EnergyAustralia.

GE’s HE upgrade for the GT26 combines advanced technology from GE’s F and H class fleets with additive manufactured parts and innovations in aerodynamics, material science and combustion dynamics. The aim is to achieve significant performance improvements across major components of the GT26 frame – turbine, compressor and combustor – that help decrease fuel costs while increasing full-load output and extending maintenance intervals. Tallawarra A power plant maintenance intervals will be extended to 32 000 weighted operating hours, which translates to up to 44 000 equivalent operating hours for a typical daily start and stop operating profile.

GE Vernova’s gas turbine portfolio has the capability today to burn hydrogen at levels from 5% (by volume) up to 100%. Having first entered commercial operation in 1991, with more than 450 GE Vernova 9F gas turbines orders since, GE Vernova’s 9F fleet has accumulated over 24 million fired hours in over 40 countries across Europe, China, Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America. GE Vernova is developing dry low NOx (DLN) combustor technology for 100% hydrogen fuel with the goal of it becoming part of the portfolio by 2030.

GE has been present in Australia for more than 120 years and there are more than 140 GE Vernova gas turbines in operation there.