Hume power station use faces review

HUME Power Station’s new owner will review its operations soon after taking over next month.

New Zealand’s Trustpower has bought the station and four other NSW-owned hydro and wind generators from Green State Power for $72.2 million.

Chief financial officer, Robert Farron, told The Border Mail yesterday that the release of water from Lake Hume would continue to be managed by State Water, under the control of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

“Once we have acquired the Green State Power assets we will review whether there are any opportunities to optimise the efficiency of the (Hume) generation plant,” he said.

“However, generally efficiency opportunities occur at the time when the generation plant requires major refurbishment or replacement.”

The plant has not long had its two transformers replaced in a $4 million job that resulted from a fire that destroyed one in late 2012.

The other Green State Power assets bought by Trustpower are at Burrinjuck on the Murrumbidgee River, the Keepit hydro-electric station near Tamworth, the Blayney wind farm near Bathurst and 80 per cent of the Crookwell wind farm located near Goulburn.

Green State Power was created by the NSW government in June last year with a view to privatisation.

Mr Farron said Trustpower decided to buy Hume because it was a perfect fit with its existing business.

“In New Zealand we operate a portfolio of 634 megawatts of renewable generation assets, many of which are of similar scale to the Green State Power assets,” he said.

Mr Farron said Trustpower believed it had the “relevant core competency” to operate and maintain these assets and “hopeful enhance productivity” over time.

He said Trustpower believed it had paid a fair price given the “inherent hydrological and wind variability” involved.

Most of the power stations’ output, he pointed out, was not contracted “and therefore sold through the wholesale electricity market and exposed to price risk”.

Trustpower owns 36 hydro-generation schemes and two wind farms in New Zealand, supplying 5 per cent of that nation’s needs.

Hume Power Station was completed by the NSW Electricity Commission in 1957.

It is linked to the high-voltage grid by transmission lines to Albury and Wodonga.