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First gas turbine delivered for State-of-the-art Pilbara power plant

Horizon Power customers are one step closer to receiving energy efficient, combined cycle generation power to be delivered in the Pilbara – from the new South Hedland 150 megawatt power station being constructed by TransAlta Energy Australia (TransAlta), a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian energy company TransAlta Corporation.

Mining and Pastoral MLC Mark Lewis will attend Horizon Power’s Boodarie industrial site today to witness the arrival of the first open cycle-gas turbine and generator which is a milestone for the major construction project.

Horizon Power awarded the build, own and operate contract for the new power station to TransAlta last year following an exhaustive procurement process on behalf of the State Government for the construction of a state-of-the art power station in the Pilbara to meet the growing energy needs of the region into the future.

Horizon Power and Fortescue Metals Group are the two foundation customers of the new station which is due to be fully commissioned in 2017.

“The arrival of the open cycle-gas turbine and generator marks a transition in the power station’s construction program from the earthworks and foundation preparation phase to the mechanical and electrical installation phase,” says Aron Willis, managing director, TransAlta.

“This milestone is an important benchmark for us as we focus on completing this project on time so that we can begin providing reliable power supply to our customers.”

The power station’s second and third combined-cycle gas turbines are expected to arrive on site in the second half of November, followed by the arrival of the cooling towers in December. All gas turbines at South Hedland are LM6000s, one of General Electric’s most efficient gas turbines. With this technology, the South Hedland Power Station will be one of the most efficient power stations in the region upon completion.

The project has an estimated cost of approximately $570 million and has been fully contracted under 25-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Horizon Power and Fortescue, and may be expanded to accommodate additional customers at later dates.

The State Government provided Horizon Power with $138 million in funding to build the short term generation on the same site in South Hedland which is currently supplying Horizon Power customers. The capital cost of this short-term station (the Hedland Precinct Power Station) will be recouped from TransAlta.

Horizon Power General Manager Major Developments Ted Brereton said the construction of the new station was an excellent example of how government and industry could work cooperatively to deliver a coordinated and integrated energy grid in the Pilbara.

“From the State’s perspective, it is a great outcome to be able to do business with credible partners like TransAlta and Fortescue Metals Group, and deliver an off-balance sheet project which will power the Pilbara into the future with the cleanest energy available,” Mr Brereton said.