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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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South Australia

Early developments in South Australia followed the fragmented pattern of other States, but the Adelaide area was supplied for many years (starting in 1897) by the Adelaide Electric Supply Company. In 1946 the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA) was formed and took over the responsibility for both generation and distribution. Original generation at the Osborne power station, near Port Adelaide, had used black coal imported from NSW, but a series of industrial disputes so interfered with shipped supplies that recourse was made to the sub-bituminous coal at Leigh Creek, which was sent some 600 kilometres by rail to Adelaide. This fuel was very variable both in quality and calorific value, and a new 240 MW power station with more suitable boilers was built at Port Augusta in the late 1960s, which halved the rail haul for Leigh Creek coal. A second power station at this site began operation in 1984, and has 400 mW capacity.

Meanwhile plans were in hand for an oil-fired steam station to be built at Torrens Island, north of Adelaide, but in 1963 natural gas was discovered at Gidgealpa in the north-east of the State, and the Pipeline Authority of South Australia was formed to build a pipeline to Adelaide. In September 1967 a 20-year agreement was signed for supply to Torrens Island, and gas was first used there in 1969. Now there are two stations at that location, with 1280 MW capacity. The future of these stations depends on the renegotiated price for gas supply, but the plant is also capable of using oil fuel. During the construction of Torrens Island 'A' station, temporary relief was achieved from a gas-turbine station with the then record size of 3 x 55 MW units at Dry Creek, an Adelaide suburb, using natural gas.

The interconnection with Victoria, referred to above, will give a welcome breathing space while the future of natural gas supplies is sorted out. Consideration is also being given to a pumped-storage plant, using adjacent water supply reservoirs in the Adelaide area.

South Australia has very little natural forest area, and for years was dependent for distribution poles on hardwood shipped from NSW. When prices rose and supply difficulties began to emerge, an ETSA engineer developed a concrete-reinforced steel pole named after him. Many thousands of 'Stobie' poles have been manufactured by ETSA for use on their system and elsewhere.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Adelaide Electricity Supply Company; Electricity Trust of South Australia; Pipeline Authority of South Australia

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 832 - 833, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher