AGL power plant delivers new energy to SA market

Australian Gas Light Company this week announced that its new Hallett Power generation plant had delivered its first quantities of electricity to the South Australian market. The 180-megawatt plant, which is located about 170km north of Adelaide is expected to have an output of 100-120 MW by early next month.

The launch of Hallet Power station comes at a opportune time for South Australian Premier, Mr Rob Kerin, who is seeking to calm concerns about electricity shortages in his state. With Australia National Power's new Pelican Point power station at Port Adelaide reaching full capacity of 450 MW for the first time, many industry watchers believe the State's electricity position is becoming more secure.

"The Hallett plant will provide South Australia with added security of supply when the state needs it most - on very high temperature days when electricity consumption soars," the Premier said. He added generating capacity had risen 40 per cent over the past three years, with private-sector investment of $700 million adding more than 850 MW to power capacity. The Government was also moving ahead with plans for alternative energy, including assessment of 40 proposals for wind farms.

However, the opposition Labor Party has ridiculed the Hallet project as nothing more than a stop gap measure. It supports the Riverlink project to bring cheaper electricity from NSW. The plan, which has been approved by the National Electricity Market Management Company, is however facing a legal challenge from rival Murraylink interconnector consortium, TransEnergie.

On the other side of the Pacific in the USA, California energy regulators could submit a draft Chapter 11 reorganisation plan for PG&E Corp's Pacific Gas and Electric unit to rival the proposal filed by the State's biggest utility, a bankruptcy judge said this week.

By agreeing to consider a California Public Utilities Commission proposal to file a plan, Judge Dennis Montail set the stage for regulators and utility executives to compromise on disagreements over the reorganisation submitted by the State's number one provider.

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