Full project details
The Darling Downs Power Station in Queensland is Australia’s largest combined-cycle power station, capable of powering up to 400,000 homes. Constructed by Laing O’Rourke in partnership with global technology leaders CH2M HILL, the 630 MW power station is also one of the greenest in the country.
The gas-fired facility, located around 250 km west of Brisbane near Dalby, uses coal seam gas and emits about half the greenhouse gas emissions of a coal-fired power station using current technology. This amounts to a saving of about 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year—the equivalent of taking 600,000 cars off the road. It also requires less than 3 per cent of the water used by a conventional water-cooled, coal-fired power station.
The Laing O’Rourke team brought their structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering expertise to the project to deliver three heat recovery steam generators, an air-cooled condenser, three gas turbines and a steam turbine. The project was completed on time in February 2010.
During the 2½ year construction, the workforce reached a peak of 750 and achieved an enviable safety record of only one lost-time injury—an incredible achievement considering there were more than 2.5 million hours worked. Safety was paramount, with 10 safety officers employed and best-practice standards applied to keep all workers and visitors safe. By employing its own labour workforce, Laing O’Rourke was also able to ensure high standards of quality and productivity.
Accommodating so many workers in a regional community was a significant challenge. The solution was to build a 550-bed accommodation camp, which included rooms with en suites, recreational facilities and other comforts, to give the team a sense of normality and routine while they were so far from home. Around 120 workers from the region were also employed on the project, which helped benefit the local community and economy.