The West Australian exclusive

Bluewaters Power Station: Synergy won’t renew contract with Collie coal plant

Josh ZimmermanThe West Australian
Collie’s Bluewaters Power Station.
Camera IconCollie’s Bluewaters Power Station. Credit: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Synergy’s contract with privately-owned Bluewaters Power Station expires in 2025 and will not be renewed – placing the future of the Collie coal plant and the nearly 60 workers it employs in jeopardy.

The revelation there are fewer than three years to run on one of Bluewaters’ key supply deals comes in the same week the McGowan Government announced it would shut Collie’s two State-owned coal plants by 2030.

Collie Power Station will close in late-2027 while the last remaining generators at Muja Power Station will cease operating by the end of 2029.

Bluewaters, which since 2013 has been owned by Japanese energy giants Sumitomo and Kansai Electric, was omitted from the phase out plan unveiled by the McGowan Government on Tuesday.

However, the plant faces a very uncertain future with The West confirming its current deal with Synergy expires in 2025.

Synergy will not renew its contract with Bluewaters Power Station.
Camera IconSynergy will not renew its contract with Bluewaters Power Station. Credit: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Energy Minster Bill Johnston has ruled out extending the supply agreement.

“Synergy currently has commercial arrangements with Bluewaters and it is not expected that those current arrangements will be renewed,” he said on Tuesday.

The loss of Synergy’s business would leave the 416MW coal-fired plant without one of its major customers.

“Bluewaters Power’s business model is underpinned by long term electricity supply agreements with our customers Synergy, Water Corporation and Boddington Gold Mine,” the company’s website says.

A Bluewaters spokesman told The West the plant would not close and that no jobs were at risk – but that is a position disputed by Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union state secretary Steve McCartney.

“The future of Bluewaters Power Station no doubt will be impacted by the transition away from coal-fired power,” he said.

“Bluewaters is a member of the Just Transition Working Group with us.

“Alongside the other coal industry employers, Bluewaters has signed a commitment to support workers impacted by the transition, and committed to a just transition for all workers.

“AMWU members will expect their employer to work with the government and make sure that no matter the future of the company, they will have good secure jobs in the Collie community.”

Bluewaters remains hopeful of inking new contracts with alternative major energy users or selling its capacity into the State’s electricity grid on an ad-hoc basis as required.

The company spokesman said the plant – which receives its coal from the nearby Griffin Mine – had supply contracts extending beyond 2030.

Built in 2009, Bluewaters is the newest coal-fired power station in WA and bills itself as “the most efficient unit with the lowest emissions of this type of generator.”

The McGowan Government is investing more than $660 million in establishing new industries in Collie – with a focus on green manufacturing – to provide alternate blue-collar jobs for the town as it transitions away from its historic reliance on coal.

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