- Energy in Victoria
The State of Victoria,
Australiauses many forms of energyfor domestic, commercial, and industrial uses. The main energy source today is brown coal, which is one of the highest sources of climate change, sea level riseand global warmingcausing greenhouse gasemissions in the form of carbon dixoide.
Unlike many other states, the major coalfields of Victoria contain
brown coal, a fuel high in ash and water, and generally unsuitable for combustions without specialized technology. As a result, in the early history of Victoria the state was dependent on black coalimports from New South Walesfor its fuel needs.
It was not until the 1920s that the
Latrobe Valleycoalfields were fully exploited for power generation, when the State Electricity Commission of Victoriabuilt the Yallourn Power Station and associated open cut mine. Since then two more open cut mines have opened in the valley, feeding power stations at Hazelwood and Loy Yang.
Additional brown coal reserves were at Altona, and Anglesea, and black coal in the
Strzelecki Rangesin South Gippsland. Both the Altona and Strzelecki Ranges coalfields were small in size, and required underground mining. Both were wound up in the early the 20th century. The Anglesea coalfield has been mined for Alcoa's Anglesea Power Station since the 1960s.
In 2001-02, the Latrobe Valley produced 98.5% of Australia’s total brown coal production of 66.7 Mt. [ [http://abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/dc057c1016e548b4ca256c470025ff88/B43CD5ECE4E63E4BCA256DEA00053A0E?opendocument Australian Bureau of Statistics: Year Book Australia, 2004 - Profile of major commodities] ]
Brown coal has 3 times the
climate changeand global warmingcausing GHG emissions per KWh of electricity produced as natural gas. Hazelwood is commonly regarded as the most greenhouse gas polluting power station in Australia. If as is expected after the release of the report of the Garnaut Climate Change Reviewa cap and trade emissions trading schemeis adopted to reduce the effects of global warming on Australia, electricity produced by burning brown coal will be expected to increase significantly in price.
Current Victorian coal mines:
Due to the low energy value of brown coal, long distance transport of the fuel is not economic. As a result, the State Electricity Commission of Victoria used German technology to produce hard
briquettes from Latrobe Valley brown coal. The initial plant was established in the 1920s at Yallourn, with a second opening at Morwell in the 1940s. These plants crushed, dried and pressed brown coal to extract the water, and form a hard fast-burning block that was easy to transport.
The SECV encouraged the use of briquettes in both industrial and domestic cooking and heating, as a replacement for imported black coal. Briquettes were also used in a number of peak load thermal power stations that were located away from the Latrobe Valley. Briquette usage in Victoria today has dropped since the introduction of
natural gasto the state, but the Morwell Energy Brix factory remains today.
Town gasproduction in Victoria started in the 1850 to supply gas for lighting, heating, and cooking. It was originally the domain of many private companies, who all operated their own small gasworkswhich converted black coalinto gas. The Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoriawas formed in 1950, and built a centralised brown coal gasification plant at Morwell. The plant opened in 1956 and used the German Lurgi processto produce gas that was transferred to Melbournevia a high pressure gas pipeline. [ [http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/tia/820.html Technology in Australia 1788-1988] ]
The production of town gas was changed in the late 1950s when
Syngasproduction was developed, a process that converted waste gases from oil refineries to a useful energy product. [ [http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/tia/820.html Technology in Australia 1788-1988] ] The final blow to gas production was in 1965 when natural gaswas discovered in Bass Strait, with the majority of Victoria changed over by the 1970s.
The majority of electricity in Victoria is generated by burning
brown coalin thermal power stations in the Latrobe Valley. Initial power generation in the state was by a number of small companies, with work on a state wide network beginning in the 1920s under the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. The commission planned capacity upgrades many years in advance, with major base load power plants built at Yallourn, Hazelwood and Loy Yang.
Victoria has a limited
hydroelectricpower generation system due to the limited water resources.
The Rubicon Hydroelectric Scheme was completed by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria in 1924, and was an important component of the state electrical grid at the time. It was later followed by the Kiewa Hydroelectric Scheme that was constructed between 1938 and 1961, the Eildon Power Station in 1956, Victoria's involvement in the
Snowy Mountains Schemethat was built from the 1950s to 1970s, and the Dartmouth Power Station in 1981.
wind powerin Victoria commenced in 1987, when the State Electricity Commission of Victoria erected a 60 kW capacity Westwind wind generatorat Breamlea, Victoria as a demonstration project. The generator as sold to a private group in 1994 with the privatisationof the SECV. [cite web|url=http://www.skyfarming.com.au/normal/cwfhistory.htm|title=The History of Community Windfarms|accessdate=2007-07-19]
It was not until the early 2000s the commercial use of wind power for electricity commenced. Wind farms at Codrington, Challicum Hills and Portland were all built by private companies with State Government funding assistance. [ [http://www.greenhouse.vic.gov.au/greenhouse/wcmn302.nsf/childdocs/-CAA82826A6EDFBB3CA25702D00155C68-C220FEC45EB3AD5CCA25702D001B4B24?open State of Victoria: Renewable Energy Action Plan] ]
The search for
natural gasin Bass Straitoff Gippslandcommenced in the mid 1960s by Esso Australiaand BHP. The floating rig "Glomar III" was used for exploration drilling, which begun on 27 December 1964. After two months gas was struck, and by June 1965 it was confirmed a major gas field had been found. Know as the Barracouta field, discovery of the Marlin field followed in March 1966. [ [http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/tia/772.html Technology in Australia 1788-1988: Discovery in Bass Strait] ] Both of these fields use offshore drilling rigs as a production base. By 1969 the production plant and distribution network were complete, allowing natural gas to be sold to consumers. [ [http://www.esv.vic.gov.au/ForConsumers/OverviewofgasindustryinAustralia/NaturalgasinVictoria/tabid/295/Default.aspx Energy Safe Victoria: Natural Gas in Victoria] ]
Additional gas reserves were discovered offshore from the
Otway Rangesin recent years. BHP Billitondiscovered the Minerva gas field 1993, with production commencing in 2004. [ [http://www.santos.com/Content.aspx?p=224 Santos: Minerva field] ] The Santos Ltd.operated Casino field was discovered in 2002, and started production in 2006. [ [http://www.santos.com/Content.aspx?p=207 Santos: Casino Field] ] In 2002 Woodside Petroleumprepared to develop their Geographe and Thylacine gas fields. [ [http://www.appea.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=133&Itemid=140 Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association: 1997 - 2002] ] These newer gas fields use undersea wellheads connected to the shore and production facilities with pipelines, minimising the visual impact on the coastline.
Today approximately 1.5 million domestic customers in Victoria are supplied with gas via over 25,000 kilometres of mains. Industrial and commercial consumers account for nearly 50 per cent of gas sales. [ [http://www.esv.vic.gov.au/ForConsumers/OverviewofgasindustryinAustralia/NaturalgasinVictoria/tabid/295/Default.aspx Energy Safe Victoria: Natural Gas in Victoria] ] In the 2005/2006 fiscal year, the average gas production in Victoria was over convert|700|Mcuft|m3 per day and represented 18% of the total national gas sales, with demand growing at 2% a year. [ [http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/nrenmp.nsf/childdocs/-56D4D5E9AEF563E84A256A800011E5D6?open DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES: Oil and Gas] ]
Oil was first discovered in the Gippsland Basin under
Bass Straitby Esso Australiaand BHP in March 1966 in what is now the Marlin field. By early 1968, the Halibut and Kingfish oil fields was discovered nearby. Production from the fields was estimated at up to 300,000 barrels per day, [ [http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/tia/772.html Technology in Australia 1788-1988: Discovery in Bass Strait] ] with recoverable reserves in the Gippsland Basin in the region of 4 billion barrels. [ [http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/nrenmp.nsf/LinkView/E1969D9710F16DE2CA256EC8000B159884B1BCA6986B5725CA256F56001A2D7F DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES: History of Petroleum Exploration in Victoria] ]
In 1985, oil production from the Gippsland Basin peaked to an annual average of 450,000
barrels per day. In 2005-2006, the average daily oil production declined to 83,000 bbls/d, but despite the decline Victoria still produces almost 19.5% of crude oil in Australia. [ [http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/nrenmp.nsf/childdocs/-56D4D5E9AEF563E84A256A800011E5D6?open DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES: Oil and Gas] ]
* cite book
last = Edwards
first = Cecil
title = Brown Power. A jubilee history of the SECV
publisher = State Electricity Commission of Victoria
year = 1969
* cite book
last = Gill
first = Herman
title = Three Decades: The story of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria from its inception to December 1948
publisher = Hutchinson & Co
year = 1949
Energy policy of Australia
Renewable energy commercialization in Australia
Solar power in Australia
Wind power in Australia
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