Beginning in 1949
The power station and briquette works were built by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) in 1949, when field works on the Morwell open cut mine commenced. It was originally known as the Morwell Power Station.
In the early 1950s briquette production equipment was ordered from Germany, and production at the plant started in 1956, with the briquettes produced being used for domestic and industrial use, as well as town gas production at an adjacent gasworks by the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria.
The Morwell Power Station and Briquette manufacturing plant were originally constructed as a completely integrated facility. The Morwell facility is essentially a large cogeneration power plant design with the industrial process steam necessary for drying the briquetting coal. Morwell Power Station consisted of one 20MW, three 30MW Metropolitan Vickers turbo generators and one 60MW Stal Laval turbo generator. Steam was supplied by pulverized brown coal-fired boilers.
At its peak it could produce up to 180MW and produce in excess of 1,000,000t of briquettes for the Victorian solid fuel market in its associated facility. In its prime the "Morwell Briquette and Power" as it was then known employed around 1,000 people and the power station was designed to be what's known as an "Island Station", which meant it could be used to supply power needed to run start up plant at other power stations in the area if for some reason they all were temporarily shut down.
Privatisation in 1996
The power station and briquette works were split from the SECV in October 1993 and established as a Government Business Enterprise. This entity was purchased from the State entity, the Coal Corporation of Victoria, in 1996 and is now owned by Energy Brix Australia Corporation Pty Ltd (EBAC), a subsidiary of HRL Limited.
Closure in 2014
The Briquette Factory was taken offline for the last time in August 2014. The last boiler and turbine in the power station was taken off on 8 September 2014.
In October 2015, HRL Limited and its subsidiaries were placed in voluntary administration by its directors. This action resulted in EBAC, a subsidiary, being placed into administration. The administrators, PPB Advisory, attempted for over 12 months to find a buyer for the site, however with the pending closure of Hazelwood (one of EBAC's principal product customers) and the unknown and extensive costs for site remediation, an unconditional offer for the site was not received. On this basis, PPB Advisory have decided to undertake the site remediation, to enhance the site value and estimated return to EBAC creditors.
For more information please visit ebacdemolition.com.au