Lake Macquarie History

Eraring Power Station

photo: lake opening program for eraring power station

The Eraring Power Station was officially opened by the NSW Premier, Neville Wran on 29th June, 1984.

The power station took its name from the nearby Lake Eraring. Eraring was the name given to the area from the Aboriginal term meaning "that which gleams or glitters".

The site of Eraring was selected due to its proximity to coalfields, large amounts of water for cooling and the availability of land, the site being 150 ha, with a total project area of 936 ha. At the time of opening it was the largest power generating station in Australia with a capacity of 2640 MW and was one of the first station to be linked into the state’s electricity "supergrid".

The total cost of the power station, built by the NSW Electricity Commission was $1.653 billion. Work commenced with the earthworks on the site in 1976, followed by construction of the station beginning in 1977. Several of the larger components of the station were shipped through the Swansea channel, up Lake Macquarie to the Eraring site.

The first generating unit was brought into service in March, 1982, the second and third units in 1983 and the fourth unit in 1984.

photo: lake eraringl

The station being fully on-line in April, 1984, 3 months ahead of schedule. The peak workforce during construction was approximately 2,300 employed and at completion the staff at the generator totalled close to 600.

In its time, the station had generated as much as 1/3 of the state’s total electricity. The coal to feed the power station was sourced from four Lake Macquarie mines, two developed for the project in Cooranbong and Myuna Collieries and the existing Awaba State Mine and Newstan Colliery.

Some of the environmental issues the power station has confronted during its life have been the effect of pumping the heated water back into Lake Macquarie, the construction of the new mines to feed the station, emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and the station’s coal-waste ash dam.