Mica Creek power plant to be mothballed from next year

Mount Isa’s Mica Creek Power Station will be placed into ‘cold storage’ at the end of this year, owner Stanwell Corporation says.

Mica Creek Power Station manager Paul Smith said the plant would have required a costly life-extending overhaul in order to supply energy to customers beyond 2020.

News the plant will be mothballed highlights the ‘urgent need’ to build the new CopperString 2.0 high voltage transmission line to provide more affordable energy for the North West, according to that project’s proponents.

One of the world’s most valuable minerals regions was now faced with an extremely limited power supply controlled by one supplier, CopperString 2.0 project executive chairman John O’Brien said.

The Mica Creek facility began operation as a coal-fired power station in the 1960s and is now a gas-fired 218 MW plant.

It is not connected to the National Electricity Network and currently supplies electricity to two industrial customers, whose contracts are due to expire on December 31.

The region is also home to APA’s Diamantina Power Station, commissioned in 2014. It comprises 242 MW power generation from combined cycle gas turbines, plus 60 MW back-up from the adjacent Leichhardt Power Station open cycle facility.

“Mica Creek Power Station is unable to compete with more modern power stations in the region,” Mr Smith said.

“Neither of our current customers are renewing their contracts after the end of this year.

“Our team at Mica Creek will continue to deliver a safe and reliable supply of energy to our current customers until their contracts end on 31 December this year.”

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