The Penal Power Station is situated at Syne Village, Penal, which is located in the heart of the oil belt. This site was chosen because of the abundance of cheap fuel (natural gas) which had very little commercial value at that time. Construction of the Plant began in 1950 with the establishment of a 11,400 Volt Busbar System and the installation of a 5,000 kilowatt Steam Turbo-Generator, which was commissioned in 1953.
Water: Water for steam production and condenser cooling for the Plant is obtained from surface water collected from the (Penal) Moora Dam.
Boiler Unit: Steam for the steam turbine was supplied by a boiler rated at a steam flow of 60,000 lbs per hour, steam pressure of 400 lb/inch2 and super-heater outlet temperature of 740oF. In 1955, another similar 5,000 kilowatt Steam Turbo-Generator unit was commissioned.
The year 1957 saw the addition of a 20,000 kilowatt Steam Turbo-Generator with its boiler rated at a steam flow of 240,000 lbs per hour, pressure of 620 lb/inch2 and super-heater outlet temperature of 865oF.
With the anticipated expansion of the generating capacity of the Penal Plant, two important developments took place between 1958 and 1960: (i) a 33,000 volt (33kv) Busbar System was installed; and (ii) The Mora Dam having a storage capacity of approximately 200,000,000 imperial gallons was built to accommodate the accompanying increased demand for water.
In 1960 and 1962, two other 20,000 kilowatt Steam Turbo-Generator units, with similar boiler ratings, were commissioned and went into service, bringing the total installed capacity of the Penal Power Station to 70,000 kilowatts (more commonly expressed as 70 megawatts, or 70MW).
In 1976, two 20,000 kilowatt Simple Cycle Gas Turbine-Generator units were added, increasing the total installed capacity of the Penal Power Station to 110 MW and providing “Black Start Capability” which is the ability to start up independently of the power grid.
The largest development took place at the Penal Power Station during the period 1982 to 1985 with the construction of a 66,000 volt (66kv) Switch-house utilising Gas Insulated Switchgear (SF6) and a 196,000 kilowatt (196MW) Combined Cycle Plant. This Plant consisted of two GE Frame7 Gas Turbines, each exhausting into a Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) and one GE Steam Turbine, having design steam conditions of 850 lb/inch2 and temperature of 950oF.
The present total installed capacity of the Penal Plant is now 236,000 kilowatts (236MW)