Millmerran Power is an 850 MW power station near the town of Millmerran on the Darling Downs in southern Queensland. Among the most energy efficient and environmentally advanced coal-fired projects in Australia, the power station became fully operational in early 2003.
Millmerran Power supplies electricity for about 1.1 million homes and sells all of its electricity into the National Electricity Market (NEM), where it is one of the lowest cost generators.
Coal for the power station comes from the adjacent open-cut Commodore mine, which not only helps lower consumer electricity costs, but also creates minimal environmental impact on the surrounding land.
Each year Millmerran has improved on the previous year’s plant performance, with capacity factors of more than 85% in recent years.
Millmerran maintains an excellent safety record by involving employees in continuous improvement of workplace health and safety and health and well-being programs to encourage healthy lifestyle choices outside of the workplace.
At the Millmerran Power Project, there has been only two lost time incidents across all operations areas, including the power station and the Commodore coal mine, since the first operations personnel were employed in 2000. To ensure continued high performance, Millmerran Power has developed and implemented world-class risk identification and management systems.
The project and its employees actively implement InterGen’s worldwide sustainable development policy across a range of programs.
AIR: Millmerran uses supercritical steam cycle technology which requires about 10% less fuel than an equivalent conventional unit. This technology saves coal and reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 400,000 tonnes per year when compared to conventional coal-fired power stations. The project also uses low nitrogen oxide (NOx) burners which cut NOx emissions by 50-70%.
WATER: Millmerran combines engineering technology and effective water conservation techniques to reduce daily water consumption by 90% compared to conventional coal fired-power projects. Measures employed by Millmerran to protect surface and ground water resources include:
- Air cooling technology, which reduces water consumption by 90%.
- Using waste water from Wetalla Sewage Treatment Plant at Toowoomba as production water.
- Taking no water from surface water or groundwater resources.
- On-site retention of all run-off water with a system of drainage channels and dams and use of that water for dust suppression and watering vegetation.
- Fully enclosed conveyors over creeks, which reduce fugitive dust emissions and spillage into Back Creek.
Millmerran Power won the prestigious Banksia Environmental Award 2006 in the water category for outstanding achievement in protecting or enhancing Australia’s water resources.
LAND: Only a small portion of the 9,115 hectares occupied by Millmerran Power Project is used for the power station and mine infrastructure. The remainder is a large buffer zone between the Project and its neighbors.
The $2 million Millmerran Power Community Benefits Fund supports Millmerran Shire through a wide range of grants. Half of the fund has been allocated to council projects, with the remainder to be shared among local organizations over a 10-year period. Each year between 20 and 30 projects and programs receive funding. Funded projects have included:
- Upgrade of local water supply and sewage treatment systems.
- Development of the Millmerran Shire Council Chambers and rebuilding of the administrative offices.
- Hospital helipad.
- Rural fire brigade trailers.
- Computers for adult education center and school.
- Native fish restocking.
- Solar heating of local swimming pool.
- Upgrade of the Millmerran airstrip.
- Equipment for sporting, youth, church and service groups.
Millmerran Power has also established three Cultural Heritage Community Development Funds with local Aboriginal groups to fund education, training and skills development for their members.
Respect has been shown for indigenous and European cultural heritage from early consultation to archaeological investigations. A Cultural Resource Centre was built as a “keeping place” for historical artifacts and hosts visits by local schools and citizens.
Michael Winter serves as the Plant Manager at Millmerran. The Millmerran Operating Company employs 50 people directly and 150 people indirectly when coal mine employees and other sub-contractors are included.