Hazelwood is a 4000 hectare site that includes among the defunct brown coal-fired power station, a 1281 hectare mine void, operational switchyard, a 524 hectare pondage, as well as landfill and dump areas1. It is owned by Engie, a French-based energy provider.
The pondage was a popular attraction for water and other recreational purposes within the community; the water temperature remained at 22⁰C year round, due to its primary purpose as the cooling device for the power station. Since the station’s forced closure in 2017 the pondage is also closed to the public.
Engie plans to rehabilitate the power station into a safe, stable, and sustainable site for the benefit of the community. The vision to reinvigorate the region include a new era of energy, agricultural production, recreation, and tourism for the Latrobe Valley2.
Engie’s preferred rehabilitation plans include filling the mine void to repurpose into a recreational lake, decommissioning of all existing structures, draining the pondage, protecting existing wetlands. It is expected that the repurposing and rehabilitation of the Hazelwood site will create new assets that can be enjoyed by the wider community; Hazelwood’s proximity to Melbourne, East Gippsland, Mt Baw Baw, and Wilson’s Promontory ensure its potential as an offering to the tourism industry3.
The vision by Engie for the site proves that once assets are decommissioned it need not be the end of their story. A new chapter begins with the broad opportunities created by repurposing and innovative designs.
Have you had opportunity to repurpose ageing or decommissioned assets? If you have, then consider contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order for us to highlight your journey.
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"I am still of the opinion that there is still a place for a new fossil fired development around the Morwell- Driffield open cut, noting that carbon capture and storage technology is still improving. I think there is a thirty year window before the hydrogen economy gets up and running when a conventional supercritical brown coal fired power project in the Latrobe Valley of say 4 x 1000MW, making use of the existing transmission infrastructure, could provide base loading at around $15 per MWh, or one fifth of existing power costs, whilst the new installations are put in place."
Ian Borthwick CPEng
Formerly Group Engineering Leader Boilers, Coal Plant, Ash Plant and Auxiliary Fuel Handling at Loy Yang A, also at Hazelwood and Yallourn power stations for 18 years and subsequently Senior Mechanical Engineer at Kogan Creek supercritical plant in Queensland.