Victoria’s largest power plant Loy Yang A shuts down during heatwave, electricity prices soar

Australia’s largest brown coal mine is experiencing a major shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands without power on one of the hottest days of the year.

All four units at AGL Energy’s Loy Yang A power station in the La Trobe Valley shut down about 2pm on Tuesday.

The station is the largest by capacity in Victoria, capable of a maximum capacity of 2210 megawatts and reportedly generates about 30 per cent of Victoria’s power requirements.

The Australian Energy Market Operator said the cause was due to “multiple tripping of generation and transmission lines” in the state, and that it was beginning load shedding –  switching Victorians off energy because of low supply.

“To keep the power system secure, AEMO has directed AusNet Services to enact load shedding,” a spokesperson said.

“Controlled load shedding is a mechanism AEMO uses as an absolute last resort to protect system security and prevent long-term damage to system infrastructure.”

A heatwave warning has been in place across Victoria on Tuesday.

Electricity infrastructure company CitiPower and Powecor said it was working on restoring power to over 100,000 customers affected by storm conditions also hitting the state.

“Crews are responding to more than 400 different faults across western and central Victoria, as well as Melbourne’s inner suburbs,” a spokesperson said, and advised customers to stay safe in the current conditions.

An AGL Energy spokesperson said the company was “currently investigating” the cause of the shutdowns at its power station.

Wholesale power prices in Victoria increased to $16,600 per megawatt hour as a result of the shutdown, a skyrocketed price compared to usual rates.

Weather will continue to be poor across Victoria for the rest of the day.

The Bureau of Meteorology says Melbourne will experience a maximum temperature of 37C for the rest of the day, with a high chance of showers and the chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon/evening, with the possibility of severe and damaging winds, large hail and heavy rainfall.

The Loy Yang A power station is scheduled to be closed by June 30, 2035, in accordance with a Structured Transition Agreement with the Victorian Government.

Originally published as Victoria’s largest power plant shuts down and causes electricity prices to soar