A new gas power plant in the Hunter Valley will deliver an important economic boost to the region by creating jobs, and delivering affordable and reliable energy. The government gas-fired project will play a central role in strengthening the economy, which is critical to Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This project supports both direct and indirect job opportunities, primarily during the construction and development phase. This is great news for the construction, engineering, and infrastructure sector, and is seen as a positive by communities in Kurri Kurri and the wider Cessnock LGA. It’s a welcomed relief due to the recent job losses in other sectors of the local economy.
The commitment of $600 million to government-owned Snowy Hydro Limited to construct a 660MW open cycle gas turbine at Kurri Kurri is expected to be operational in 2023.
About the Project
Due to the coal-fired Liddell Power Station retiring in 2023, there is a need for Australia to transition to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. This means having electricity sources that can produce energy ‘on-demand’ are also required. The closure of Liddell Power Station will reduce NSW’s electricity supply by around 13%. Without adequate dispatchable replacement, this risks a price increase of around 30% over two years.
To protect families and businesses against this threat, the government has enlisted The Hunter Power Project as a way of filling the gap in the electricity demand. This project fulfills the government’s 1,000 MW target set in September last year, which was created to avoid unacceptable price increases.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor says the Government’s JobMaker plan was focused on ensuring affordable, reliable power that would ultimately allow NSW households, businesses and industries to prosper and grow.
“Cheap power is crucial to ensuring families, businesses and job-creating industries in NSW can thrive, which is why we are committed to replacing the energy generated by Liddell to keep prices down,” said Minister Taylor.
He also states that gas is a critical enabler of Australia’s economy and helps to reinforce the manufacturing sector that employs over 900,000 Australians.
Supporting Australia’s transition to renewable energy
The Hunter Power Project will strengthen and help firm the growth of Australia’s transition to renewable energy by facilitating additional dispatchable power. An estimated 1.5 to 2GW of renewables (or the equivalent of 160,000 household solar installations) is set to be achieved.
This new gas supply and generation will not only allow energy to be more affordable for families and businesses, it will also complement the world-leading levels of renewables in Australia.
Workforce and business opportunities
The Hunter Power Project will generate employment, encourage economic growth in the region and provide opportunities for local businesses. It’s estimated the project will create up to 600 local jobs during the peak construction period and 1,200 indirect employment opportunities across NSW.
According to a report released by Snowy Hydro, the workforce positions are made up of the following:
- 40 - 50 jobs at commencement during the 14 - 15 months of construction
- 250 jobs during peak construction
- Electrical connection works to generate an additional 30 - 40 jobs during construction
- Up to 10 permanent positions during the operation of the plant
This project will also assist in offsetting the reduction of coal-related employment in the Hunter region, which will help boost the local economy.
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