Geelong Powerhouse

 

The Geelong Powerhouse is Victoria’s largest power station, located in Truganina in Melbourne’s west. It has been operational since 1945 but underwent a major expansion in 2001. The station generates around 30% of Melbourne’s total electricity.

The city of Geelong,Victoria was once home to two coal fueled Power Stations- Geelong A and Geelong B.

The Geelong A Station is the oldest surviving power station in Victoria, Australia and the first coal-fired power station in the city. It was built by the Electricity Supply Company in 1898 and is still running today.The station opened for business in 1898 and has been powering the city ever since. The plant has a capacity of 13,000 kilowatts when operating on full load, which was an impressive feat when it was constructed. It was designed to be able to be fueled with coal, timber or briquettes. We continue to fuel it with coal today!

It is one of three stations that are still operating out of Geelong. The other two are the Geelong B Station and Shoreline A Station, both of which were built in 1926 and continue to provide vital generation for our electricity network today. The Geelong A power station is a coal-fired power station in Victoria, Australia.

The first moves to providing an electricity supply to Geelong were made in 1898, with three separate companies vying for the right to operate in the city. Two of these companies merged to form the Electric Lighting and Traction Company of Australia, who built the Geelong A power station. The company operated until 1929 when it was bought by the Government Electricity Department of Victoria which operated it until 1977 when it was decommissioned. In 1999, after nearly fifty years out of commission, the coal-fired plant was re-commissioned as part of Victorian Government’s commitment to renewable energy production

The power station is one of the most popular and well-known sites in the area. This coal power station once supplied electricity to Geelong, but has now been converted into a museum that’s visited by more than 200,000 people every year. It was built in 1911 and operated for more than 50 years before it was decommissioned. Today, you can visit the power station as a museum where you can see how electricity was created and transported at that time by visiting the exhibits on display.

The museum is housed inside one of the first coal-fired power stations to supply electricity to Geelong. The building’s interior remains almost unchanged, with visitors able to see just how workers managed to convert coal into energy at a time before computers or digital displays were available.

The Geelong B power station was of 30,000 kilowatt (30 MW) capacity and located at North Geelong on the edge of Corio Bay. It was also the largest power station in Victoria outside the Latrobe Valley. The plant was officially opened on 8 October 1954 by the Honourable J.W. Galbally, MLC, Minister in Charge of Electrical Undertakings.

Geelong B was a ‘packaged’ station from components imported from the United States of America and was erected under contract for the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. The contract included the supply and erection of buildings, boilers, generators, transformers, switchgear and coal handling equipment, and putting the station into service.

The power station was of unusual design, with no conventional boiler house, the boilers being out of doors except for the boiler operating face, which helped to reduce building costs. Each of the three boilers was connected to a generator of 10,000 kW capacity. Cooling water for the power station was drawn from Corio Bay, and most of the power generated was used by local industry.
The boilers were automatically controlled, and produced 110,000 pounds of steam per hour (49,900 kg/h) at 625 psi (4.3 MPa). Fuel was moved by belt bucket and scraper conveyors to the fuel bunkers, then delivered to the boilers by mechanical spreader stokers.

The fuel used was brown coal purchased by the SECV from the Wensley Brae open cut mine, just west of Wensleydale, but from 1960 better quality coal was purchased from a mine at Anglesea instead. (The Anglesea mine was then used to fuel the adjacent Anglesea Power Station that opened in 1969 and closed in 2015.) A third change in fuel supplied occurred soon after, with the boilers being converted to use briquettes brought to Geelong by rail from Yallourn.

By the 1960s the power station was only used to meet peak loads due to its high operating cost, and the station was closed in 1970 when newer power stations were opened in the Latrobe Valley.
The building known as “the Powerhouse” still stands today and in 2014 was the site of an arts project curated by Ian Ballis that decorated the once derelict building with many of pieces of art. It was opened to the public at the time. Rone was one artist who participated.