Liddell Power Station

Liddell Power Station is a coal-powered thermal power station with four 500 megawatts (670,000 hp) GEC (UK) steam driven turbine alternators for a combined electrical capacity of 2,000 megawatts (2,700,000 hp).

Liddell Power Station
Liddell Power Station.jpg
Location of Liddell Power Station in New South Wales
Locationnear Muswellbrook, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates32°22′19″S 150°58′38″E / 32.37194°S 150.97722°E / -32.37194; 150.97722Coordinates: 32°22′19″S 150°58′38″E / 32.37194°S 150.97722°E / -32.37194; 150.97722
Commission date1971-1973
Owner(s)AGL Energy
Thermal power station
Primary fuelCoal
Secondary fuelOil
Turbine technologySteam turbine;
Gas turbine
Power generation
Units operational4 × 500 megawatts (670,000 hp)
2 × 25 megawatts (34,000 hp)
1 × 0.85 megawatts (1,140 hp) mini-hydro
Make and modelGEC Turbine Generators Limited, Manchester, England
Nameplate capacity2051 MW
External links]] 
CommonsRelated media on Commons

However, as at April 2018, its operating capacity has been assessed at 1,680 megawatts (2,250,000 hp).[1] Commissioned between 1971 and 1973, the station is located at Lake Liddell near Muswellbrook, in the Hunter Region, New South Wales, Australia.

Prior to September 2014 Liddell power station was part of NSW Government power producer, Macquarie Generation.[2] Macquarie Generation's assets were acquired by AGL Energy in September 2014.[3]


The Liddell Power Station has four generators. The first was completed in 1971, two more in 1972, and the fourth in 1973. At the time of its completion, Liddell was the most powerful generating station in Australia. Liddell was the first major power station in New South Wales to be built inland, using fresh water for cooling instead of the more abundant salt water used in coastal power stations. To accommodate this, Lake Liddell was expanded to provide more water. The completion of Liddell aided in the retirement of earlier power stations in Sydney, such as the Bunnerong Power Station.

Originally the plant was fitted with the then-standard electrostatic precipitators for dust collection, and the more efficient fabric filters (as used at Eraring, Munmorah units 3 and 4, Vales 5+6, Bayswater and Mount Piper) were retrofitted in the early 1990s, reducing particulate emissions to a barely visible level. Much of the coal is supplied by overland conveyors from mines it shares with the nearby Bayswater Power Station.

In 2007, a project commenced at Liddell to replace some of the station's boiler feed-water by hot water from a solar thermal array.[4] As of March 2007, the project was at a second-stage prototype but had not been connected to the power station. Subsequently the 9 MW solar section was added to the Liddell coal-fired generator, but has now effectively been closed. Analysts say the incentive to use the solar boost was reduced by the removal of the carbon price and excess coal supply.[5]

Alternative fuel sourcesEdit

In addition to the coal-fired steam turbines, Liddell runs two 25 MW oil-fired gas turbines[6] and an 0.85 MW mini-hydroelectric generator.[6][7] It is also "licensed to co-fire plant biomass and coal to produce electricity", which essentially means it can use sawdust and wood shavings from the nearby timber industry as a portion of its fuel, replacing up to 5% of its coal requirements.[8][9] In practice, however, biomass accounts for only about 0.5% of Liddell's output.[citation needed]

Greenhouse emissionsEdit

Carbon Monitoring for Action estimates Liddell power station emits 14.70 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year as a result of burning coal.[10] In 2010 the Australian Government introduced a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to help combat climate change. The scheme has impacted on emissions from power stations. The National Pollutant Inventory provides details of a range of pollutant emissions, including CO, estimated at 1,000,000 kilograms (2,200,000 lb) for the year ending 30 June 2011.[11] a Freedom of Information request in 2018 revealed that Liddell is allowed to emit three times more than the best practice-allowed amount of nitrogen oxide.[12]

Expected closureEdit

AGL announced in 2015 and reaffirmed in 2017 that it intends to close the Liddell Power Station in 2022.[13] The closure of this and other coal-burning power stations in Australia led the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, to seek advice from the Australian Energy Market Operator on extending the life of a number of them,[14] to head off anticipated future electricity shortages.[15] Turnbull said the government had been advised that if the Liddell plant were to close in 2022, there would be a 1000MW gap in base load, dispatchable power generation.[14] The Turnbull Government asked AGL to keep Liddell open beyond 2022, or to sell the Liddell Power Plant to Alinta Energy.[16] In August 2019, AGL announced that three of the turbines would be able to be kept running until April 2023, to ensure reliable power supply to New South Wales during the 2022-23 summer.[17]

In December 2018, a proposed upgrade to the Bayswater Power Station was approved to be completed around the same time as the proposed closure of Liddell. Both are owned by AGL Energy and consume coal from the same mine. The upgrade approval did not impose tighter air emission controls, however AGL claimed that the closure of Liddell would result in a net improvement in air quality.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The fight about AGL's Liddell power station explained
  2. ^ "Macgen Website"
  3. ^ "AGL completes acquisition of Macquarie Generation assets". AGL Energy. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Liddell Solar Project Update". Macquarie Generation. Retrieved 17 March 2007.
  5. ^ Giles Parkinson (21 March 2016). "CS Energy pulls plug on world's largest "solar booster" project". RE New Economy.
  6. ^ a b "Statement of Corporate Intent 2005/2006" (PDF). Macquarie Generation. 13 December 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2006.
  7. ^ "Liddell Power Station" (Press release). Macquarie Generation. 7 February 2000. Archived from the original on 31 March 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2006.
  8. ^ "Renewable energy". Macquarie Generation. Archived from the original on 19 July 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2006.
  9. ^ "Biomass Co-firing". Macquarie Generation. Retrieved 5 August 2006.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Plant overview: Liddell". Carbon Monitoring for Action. 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Liddell Power Station, Muswellbrook NSW". Carbon Monitoring for Action. Commonwealth of Australia: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Liddell power station given special pollution exemption, documents reveal". ABC News. 22 May 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  13. ^ "AGL Energy statement on Liddell Power Station". AGL Energy. 6 September 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  14. ^ a b Osborne, Paul (6 September 2017). "Turnbull throws his weight behind coal power". InDaily. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  15. ^ Liddell power plant operating below 40 per cent capacity, faces 'mammoth' woes
  16. ^ "Frydenberg pressures AGL to sell Liddell power station to Alinta". ABC News. 5 April 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  17. ^ Wakatama, Giselle; Farquhar, Liz (2 August 2019). "AGL defers Liddell, Torrens power plant closures in bid to avoid summer blackouts". ABC Newcastle. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  18. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (8 December 2018). "Upper Hunter air quality will improve 'significantly' after Liddell closes, says Bayswater upgrade report". The Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 8 December 2018.

External linksEdit