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Weddell Power Station & Switchyard

Delivering cleaner power generation technology to meet the growth needs of the Northern Territory

Power and Water Corporation (NT)
Contract Value
Project Duration
2007 (Stage 1) 2011 (Stage 2)
Estimated Completion
2008 (Stage 1) 2013 (Stage 2)
Darwin, Northern Territory
Project Overview

In April 2006, the Northern Territory Government announced a $126 million investment in power upgrades and capital works delivered at the new Weddell Power Station, the largest electricity generation project in the Northern Territory in the last 20 years. The station was built in response to unprecedented growth in power demands from Darwin and the surrounding regions’ resource companies and communities.
Today, the Weddell Power Station contributes 20% of the capacity of the Darwin-Katherine transmission system.

UGL in partnership with GE Energy delivered the Weddell Power Station and 66kV switchyard. The new power station comprises of two 43 Megawatt (MW) high-efficiency GE Energy LM6000 gas turbines in an open cycle configuration. The power station is state-of-the-art with highly efficient lean-burn machines run on natural gas ensuring that Weddell emits far less greenhouse gases than other comparable power stations.

The Challenge

With the Northern Territory set to grow at a steady rate, the Northern Territory’s Power and Water Corporation (PWC) recognised the need to increase its power generation capacity in order to meet future demands for residential, business and industrial communities.

Since 2009 PWC has invested over $1 billion to build, upgrade and maintain power and water infrastructure. This was the largest investment in utility services in the Northern Territory’s history which will meet increased demand and significantly improve supply system reliability and security.

The Solution

UGL worked closely with PWC to develop a complete engineering and installation solution to meet  power generation availability requirements. Due to the critical nature of the services being delivered and the ambitious timeline required, the solution was developed using leading engineering practices combined with advance power generation technology.

The project works comprised of two General Electric (GE) LM6000 (with an additional unit for stage 2) gas turbines of nominal 43 MW output each and a Gas Turbine Generator (GTG), including auxiliaries.

The solution also included:

  • Clearing and preparing the site for the new facility
  • Design and installation of the plant foundations including the Gas Turbine Generator (GTG) foundations
  • The 66kV Switchyard civil works and the various Balance of Plant (BOP) footings
  • Design & installation of the stormwater system and oily water collection and separation system which includes utilisation of the bioremediation area to naturally treat and discharge process water
  • Design, procurement, delivery and installation of the BOP equipment
  • Design, fabrication and installation of piping systems throughout the plant
  • On shore transportation, installation of two (+1) LM6000 GTG & auxiliary equipment comprising air filter, auxiliary skids and exhaust stacks
  • Commissioning of BOP items, performance testing and the reliability run

The LM6000, recognised for high performance, high reliability, and true operational flexibility, is a dual-rotor, “direct drive” gas turbine derived from the CF6-80C2, high-bypass, turbofan aircraft engine.

Key Outcomes and Benefits

Focusing on performance, compliance and environmental requirements as well as long-term cost-effectiveness, UGL was able to meet project requirements in reliability, safety and quality when delivering this power generation solution.

With a site workforce of over 120 personnel, the project was completed successfully with an excellent safety, environmental and industrial record.

UGL’s engineers drove the necessary outcomes throughout all phases of the project delivery resulting in the development of robust designs that were more practical and safer to construct, commission and operate.

Key outcomes included:

  • Providing greater capacity to the electricity network with a shorter time frame with the delivery of the plant in line with accelerated program requirements of the owner
  • Designing a fit for purpose system that satisfied the client’s requirements
  • Environmental benefits from reduced carbon emissions as the result of improved efficiency
  • Improved lead time for future LM6000 turbine installation projects with the development of standard plant design
  • The design and construction of a high performing stormwater system that would meet the requirements of the extreme wet season monsoon periods
  • An economical solution for the dispatch needs of nearly every condition employing advanced turbine technology
  • Utilisation of Northern Territory local businesses and labour during execution of the project
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