Playford B Power Station

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Playford B Power Station
Country Australia
Location Port Paterson, South Australia[1]
Commission date 1963
Operator(s) Alinta Energy
Thermal power station
Primary fuel Sub-bituminous coal
Power generation
Units operational 0
Nameplate capacity 240 MW

Playford B Power Station was located at Port Paterson in the Australian state of South Australia about 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) south of the city centre of Port Augusta.[1] It was coal powered with four 60 MW steam turbines that generate a total of 240 MW of electricity.[2] Playford B received coal by rail from the Leigh Creek Coal Mine, 280 km to the north and draws cooling water from Spencer Gulf, returning it to the sea at an elevated temperature. Commissioned in 1963, it was co-located with the larger, newer Northern Power Station. Playford B was mothballed in 2012 and its permanent closure was announced by operator Alinta Energy in October 2015. Prior to being mothballed it primarily operated in the summer, when electricity demand peaks.[2]



Carbon Monitoring for Action estimates this power station emits 1.77 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year as a result of burning coal.[3] The Australian Government has announced the introduction of a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme commencing in 2010 to help combat climate change. It is expected to impact on emissions from power stations. The National Pollutant Inventory provides details of other pollutant emissions,[4] but, as at 23 November 2008, not CO2.


The draws seawater from Upper Spencer Gulf for cooling. It is discharged back into the Spencer Gulf 6.6 °C warmer than the original intake water temperature. The rate of flow is 14.5 m³ per second.[5] In addition to thermal pollution, other marine discharges include (from greatest to smallest): fluoride, boron, arsenic, manganese, chromium, copper, nickel and mercury.[4]


The plant was mothballed in 2012 with Alinta Energy citing 'market conditions'.[6] Though not stated explicitly, the primary causes are likely to be flat or declining demand and increasing penetration of renewables such as wind and rooftop solar PV. In the financial year 2012-13, the plant did not generate electricity but was in a status of active storage, on a potential 90-day recall. No emissions were reported to the National Pollution Inventory that year.[7]

With the closure of Playford B imminent the Australian Government came under pressure from the local community through a community vote and a national campaign to replace Playford and eventually Northern with concentrated solar thermal power generation technology. This campaign has brought together diverse groups including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition under the name Repower Port Augusta.

On 11 June 2015, Alinta Energy announced their intent to permanently close the power station by March 2018, along with the related Northern Power Station, and the Leigh Creek coal mine that supplies them both with fuel.[8]

On 30 July 2015, Alinta Energy announced they were bringing the closure dates of all three facilities forward by 12 months, and now intended to no longer operate them past March 2017 and could shut them down as early as March 2016.[9] 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.[10]

On 7 October 2015, Alinta Energy announced the permanent closure of Northern and Playford B around 31 March 2016, effectively meaning that Playford B would never re-open.[11] In January 2016, Alinta announced that the closure date had been set back to 8 May 2016 and the Northern Power Station was shut down on the 9th of May.[12] Demolition of both stations and site remediation work was expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.[13]

Fly ash playa and health concerns[edit]

With the permanent closure of the Playford B and Northern power stations at Port Augusta, dampening flows of water across the adjacent fly ash playa ceased. This allowed the fly ash, which contains crystalline silica, to become airborne. On several occasions in 2016 and 2017, plumes of the fine grey fly ash powder became visible rising from the power station site and blew into the town of Port Augusta, concerning residents and impacting air quality.[14][15]

In February 2017, topsoil application trials were underway and liquid odour suppressant was being applied periodically to the flyash dam.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Search result for "Port Paterson (Locality Bounded)" (Record no SA0040645) with the following layers being selected - "Suburbs and Localities" and "Place names (gazetteer)"". Government of South Australia. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Flinders". Alinta Energy. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  3. ^ "Carbon Monitoring for Action". Center for Global Development. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  4. ^ a b "2011/2012 report for FLINDERS OPERATING SERVICES PTY LTD, PLAYFORD POWER STATION - Port Augusta, SA". National Pollution Inventory. Australian Government. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  5. ^ Nyrstar Port Pirie Smelter Transformation Proposal Public Environment Report (PDF). Port Pirie, South Australia: Nyrstar. 2013. p. 179.
  6. ^ "Latest news | Market reports". Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  7. ^ "2012/2013 report for FLINDERS OPERATING SERVICES PTY LTD, PLAYFORD POWER STATION - Port Augusta, SA". National Pollution Inventory. Australian Government. 2014-05-23. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  8. ^ "Alinta Energy to close power stations at Port Augusta and coal mine at Leigh Creek". ABC Online. 2015-06-11. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
  9. ^ Griffiths, Luke (2015-07-30). "Alinta to close Port Augusta power stations, Leigh Creek coal mine a year early". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2015-07-31.
  10. ^ "Latest Electricity and Natural Gas News | Alinta Energy". Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  11. ^ "Flinders Operations Update | Alinta Energy". Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  12. ^ "Alinta extends Port Augusta power station closure deadline - InDaily". InDaily. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  13. ^ "Alinta Energy announces demolition plans for Port Augusta power stations". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  14. ^ Carcich, Matt (2016-08-21). "Concerns over Port Augusta ash cloud". The Transcontinental. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  15. ^ Henson, Elizabeth (2017-01-02). "Concerns grow over ash cloud at Port Augusta following closure of Northern Power Station". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  16. ^ Carcich, Matt (2017-02-24). "Flinders Power begins topsoil trial". The Transcontinental. Retrieved 2017-02-24.

External links[edit]

32°32′20″S 137°46′55″E / 32.538886°S 137.781822°E / -32.538886; 137.781822Coordinates: 32°32′20″S 137°46′55″E / 32.538886°S 137.781822°E / -32.538886; 137.781822