Yallourn Power Station was a complex of six brown coal fuelled power stations built progressively from the 1920s to the 1960s. Located in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, the complex was situated beside the Latrobe River, with the company town of Yallourn located to the south west. Today only Yallourn W remains.
Yallourn W Power Station is the third largest power station in Victoria, Australia. This 1,450 MW power station supplies 22% of Victoria's electricity and 8% of National Electricity Market needs. The adjacent Yallourn brown coal mine is the largest open cut coalmine in Australia, with reserves to meet the projected needs of the power station to 2032.
Power generation at Yallourn was first proposed in 1919 when the State Government appointed a committee to investigate the use of coal from the Latrobe Valley. The plant was operated by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, and the first sod was turned at the Yallourn Power Station site in 1921. Along with the power station, the town of Yallourn was constructed nearby to house workers of the plant. Coal was moved from the open cut mine to the power station by the Yallourn 900mm Railway, a narrow gauge electric railway running along temporary tracks in the mine. The Morwell Interconnecting Railway was later provided to the Morwell power station and briquette works for the transfer of Yallourn coal to the briquette works, as Morwell mine (now called Hazelwood mine) coal did not briquette satisfactorily.
In the complex, Yallourn A was the first plant opened, with Yallourn B entering service on April 11 1932. Yallourn A was demolished in 1968, and Yallourn B following in the early 1970s. Yallourn C, D and E stations were commissioned in 1954, 1957 and 1961 respectively, and provided the bulk of Victoria's power until Hazelwood Power Station became operational in the mid 1960s.
Yallourn E station ceased generating power in January 1989, with C, D and E plans being demolished from 1995 onwards, with the site being cleared by 1999. The narrow gauge railway in the mine was replaced by conveyor belts in 1984, and the Morwell Interconnecting Railway was replaced by road haulage in 1993.
With the coal supply from Yallourn's East Field mine expected to be exhausted in 2007, work commenced on a diversion of the nearby Morwell River five years ago to grant unimpeded access to further coal sources from the Maryvale coal field. Without this, the power station potentially faced significant modification or even closure. The Morwell River Diversion, and the access to coal supplies it allows, will ensure Yallourn can continue to operate until 2032. The 3.5km diversion was constructed over five years with an investment of AUD$122 million, and came in on time and on budget.
Recently, the station's name was shortened to be just "Yallourn Power Station". In late 2007, a subsidence in the mine wall resulted in the Latrobe River bursting through, damaging coal conveying plant and flooding low levels of the mine. Urgent earthwork repairs were made with the co-operation of other power generators. Coal production was limited for some weeks.