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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 11

I The Present Energy Economy

II Australian Energy Consumption

III Research And Development

IV Coal

V Oil And Natural Gas

VI Solar Energy

VII Nuclear Energy

VIII Bagasse Firewood And Other Biomass

IX Electric Power Generation And Distribution electric Power Generation And Distribution
i Types of generating stations
ii Transmission and distribution
iii System load control
iv Australian manufacturing in the power industry
v Queensland
vi New South Wales
vii Victoria
viii Tasmania
ix South Australia
x Western Australia
xi Northern Territory
xii Australian Capital Territory
xiii The Snowy Mountains Scheme

X Manufactured Gas

XI Industrial Process Heat



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New South Wales

In 1945 there were 188 separate generating and distribution bodies in NSW, but these were gradually amalgamated, until in 1959 there were 69, and in 1980 these were reduced further to 26. The largest body, Sydney County Council, now distributes almost half of the State's kWh total.

Severe shortages of generating capacity were experienced shortly after the Second World War, and in 1950 the NSW Government established the Electricity Commission of NSW. This body was charged with providing bulk supply to the various distribution bodies, and empowered to supply certain major industries direct.

While the Electricity Commission was establishing its organisation the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority (created in 1949) continued to study the major transmission requirements for conveying the statutory two-thirds of its output to NSW, and one-third to Victoria (after meeting the needs of ACT). In 1953, the SMHEA published a report declaring that the most economic voltage for the planned transmission system was 330 kV; this decision was mutually agreed with both States. By 1955, the Electricity Commission of NSW (ECNSW) had reached the stage when its plans for a State grid were clarified, and took over the transmission planning from SMHEA. A considerable network at 330 kV was established, particularly to convey the power to Sydney from the large stations built on the Lake Macquarie (Vales Point and Munmorah) and Hunter Valley coalfields (Liddell).

The ECNSW enjoyed the advantage of receiving up to some 2,200 MW of peak power from the Snowy Mountain Scheme, and so was able to employ very large generating units in its later power stations. Thus the sets at Liddell (1974) and Wallerawang extension (1976) were rated at 500 MW, equal to the largest in service in Britain at that time. The next addition was in 1978-9 with two 660 MW sets at Vales Point, in advance of such units being in service in Europe. Sets of similar size were commissioned at Eraring (1982-5) on Lake Macquarie, Bayswater (1985-6) near Liddell, and are under construction at Mount Piper near Lithgow, with 500 kV transmission lines to the Sydney area.

Power from the Snowy Mountains Scheme first became available to ECNSW early in 1955, and was credited with saving Sydney from blackouts 47 times in that year. With the advent of Tumut 1 power station and associated 330 kV lines in 1959, NSW and Victoria were interconnected for the first time, and regularly interchanged power both for satisfying different peak times, and for help under planned or inadvertent plant outages.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Electricity Commission of New South Wales; Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority (S.M.H.A.); Snowy Mountains Scheme; Sydney County Council

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© 1988 Print Edition page 829, Online Edition 2000
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