Mortlake Power Station could be at half capacity for months
An explosion has shut down half of Victoria’s largest gas-fired power station and it could be months before it is back to full capacity.
But energy authorities say there is no threat to the state’s supplies as a result of the early-morning blast.
Fire crews were called to Mortlake Power Station just after 6am on Monday for what Origin Energy said was an electrical outage.
She said Origin was still determining how long the outage would last, but CFA commander Paul Marshall told 3AW that he believed it could be offline for months.
“It was a rather large explosion, it certainly wasn’t a minor explosion, so that will obviously take a while to rectify,” he said.
“There was significant damage to the generator.”
The station, about 200 kilometres west of Melbourne, has two generating units, each producing about 292 megawatts.
Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio confirmed in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that an electrical fault had taken one of the station’s two generators offline.
“I’m advised this will not impact available energy supply,” she said.
“There will be a full investigation into what occurred and the company and AEMO will provide further detail – it is the responsibility of the private operator to ensure their plant is reliable.”
A spokeswoman for the Australian Energy Market Operator said the authority was not aware of any threat to household energy supplies.
“AEMO is aware of an outage of one generating unit at the Mortlake Power Station and is in constant dialogue with asset owner Origin,” she said.
“The unit outage does not pose any immediate threat to power system security. AEMO will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
Opposition energy spokesman Ryan Smith slammed the state government’s response to the incident.
“When it comes to essential services the government should be on the front foot and should let people know what’s going on,” he said on radio station 3AW on Tuesday afternoon.