Callide C3 Unit returns to service 

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CS Energy’s Callide C coal-fired power station has partially returned to service some 17 months after it was abruptly taken offline due to a structural failure in the cooling tower.  

The 2,300 MW power station has been beset by problems since an explosion on May 25 2021, at the C4 Unit tripped the entire generation plant and caused a knock-on effect with other generators and power lines. 

3,045 MW of generation vanished, leaving 2,300 MW of customer load disconnected and triggering widespread blackouts across homes and businesses in Queensland.  

Shortly after the explosion at C4, structural failures in the cooling tower serving the C3 unit ensued. This double blow has kept the entire 810MW coal plant dormant since October 2022.  

The projected costs for the essential repairs are expected to exceed $400 million, with the plant’s return to operation facing numerous setbacks. 

CS Energy – which operates Callide C in a 50/50 joint venture with IG Power, was forced to demolish and rebuild the cooling towers for both units C3 and C4. 

Delays in obtaining replacement parts overseas, adverse weather conditions, threats of industrial action and court action taken against CS Energy by the Australian Energy Regulator all contributed to the delay in the power station’s return to service. 

The 420MW C3 Unit was tested at half capacity over the Easter long weekend following “a thorough commissioning process to test the unit and its new cooling tower over recent weeks.” 

After testing, CS brought the remaining 210MW of capacity online. 

“This is a significant milestone in returning our portfolio to full capacity,” said Darren Busine, CS Energy CEO. 

“Getting to this point is thanks to the combined effort of the construction crews that built the new Callide C cooling tower and our operations team who have been methodical in their approach to re-commissioning the unit. 

“The Callide team will closely monitor the unit as it undergoes further testing and commissioning works before gradually returning it to its full capacity over the coming week.” 

CS Energy also announced that Unit C4 will make a staged return to service beginning on June 2024, before returning to full capacity by July 31. 

Our team has been closely following the events relating to Callide C Power Station, in addition to other major stories relating to the energy sector. Leading Edge’s energy management consultants stay well-informed to provide our customers with current, data-based advice on the possible effects of important developments in electricity prices.  

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