Alinta provides a significant portion of SA’s baseload energy requirements through the coal-powered Flinders power station, which is supplied with coal from the Leigh Creek mine around 250km away.
Following the lightning strikes, the high-voltage power supply to a large portion of the electricity distribution network around the mine and surrounding community were cut off.
While most domestic households were switched to a backup supply, operations at the mine had to be halted.
Leigh Creek mine maintenance manager Peter Cranwell said once emergency generators were covering the power supply to local towns, Alinta addressed the situation at the minesite.
“It took some time before the extent and likely duration of the outage was confirmed,” he said.
“Initially, the risk of the power station running out of coal was low.
“But each day without power to produce and deliver coal to the power station the risk increased.
“We needed an urgent supply of emergency power, so we contacted Aggreko.”
Aggreko delivered two 1250 kilovolt amp generators to the minesite within 24 hours of the request.
Following installation, the units provided power to allow the coal plant to run and load coal trains bound for the Flinders power station.
“The generator enabled us to put power through our coal plant for bin loading, so while we weren’t able to produce coal, we were still able to supply the power station with reserves,” Cranwell said.
Aggreko Australia-Pacific managing director Asterios Satrazemis said Aggreko had vast experience in providing emergency response power to customers throughout Australia.
“The ability to rapidly mobilise reliable equipment from our network of strategically located depots is central to our strategy to support local businesses,” he said.