Delta Electricity said that its 1.32GW Vales Point Power Station in New South Wales, Australia can operate until 2033, which is nearly four years beyond its original closure date of 2029.

According to Delta Electricity, the extension of the coal-fired power plant will help meet the power requirements of the Australian state, particularly as new generation and transmission projects take time in becoming operational.

Adding to the uncertainties in meeting the electricity demand are the earlier closure dates being announced by owners of other coal-fired power plants, said the company.

The Vales Point Power Station is currently meeting almost 10% of the electricity needs of New South Wales.

Delta Electricity said that it has informed the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) about a 2033 technical life assessment for the Vales Point Power Station. The aim of this assessment is to give the Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) with an evaluation of the existing generation equipment, ash dam capacity, and overall condition of the power plant.

The original closure date stated in the ESOO was calculated based on a nominal asset life of 50 years. As the approaching date of 2029 nears, Delta Electricity said that it has been able to make more accurate estimates regarding the technical capabilities of the plant.

Considering the uncertainties surrounding electricity resource capacity in the next 10 years and the critical importance of ensuring system security during this timeframe, Delta Electricity views its notification to AEMO as a responsible measure.

Delta Electricity interim chief executive David Morris said: “Vales Point has benefited from a detailed and rigorous maintenance regime throughout its life. This has included major outages every four years on each unit to replace critical plant elements, implementing capital upgrades and conducting extensive maintenance.

“The plant continues to provide high levels of availability to the system and is expected to continue to do so through to 2033.”

The company said that the ESOO announcement pertains to the technical assessment of the Vales Point Power Station and should not be interpreted as a commercial commitment to operate the facility.

Furthermore, Delta Electricity cautioned that it is important to note that commercial obligations require a 42-month closure notification period.

Located in Lake Macquarie on the central coast of New South Wales, the Vales Point Power Station also incorporates the use of biomass as a renewable fuel to substitute a portion of coal. The power plant, which has been operating since 1978, has two units of 660MW each.