• A CASA graphic showing the height of the gas plume from Tallawarra B. (CASA)
    A CASA graphic showing the height of the gas plume from Tallawarra B. (CASA)

CASA this week issued a plume warning for the Tallawarra B power station, which has started operations.

The controversial gas-fired power station is within the circuit area at Shellharbour Airport and can produce a heat plume that impacts overflying aircraft.

"If you’re flying in the Wollongong and Shellharbour areas, be aware that the new Tallawarra B power station has commenced operations and may produce a high velocity plume," the warning on the CASA website states.

"The power station may produce a high-velocity plume which can cause turbulence if you fly over the plume at or below 1700 ft AMSL. The plume will not be visible to pilots when it occurs. 

"To support the safety of air traffic in the area, the power station exhaust stack will have warning lights and a local aerodrome frequency response unit (AFRU) will broadcast messages when the station is operating."

CASA has recommended that pilots locate the gas plume on charts and plan not to overfly it if possible.

Tallawarra B is an open-cycle gas turbine (OCGT) that operates intermittently when extra power is required. It is located approximately 2.4 nm north-east of Shellharbour Airport on the shores of Lake Illawarra, just south of Dapto.

The VTC currently shows a stack with a plume from SFC to 700 feet, which will be amended to 1700 feet on the next chart issue. Circuit height at Shellharbour is 1031 feet.

Tallawarra B was approved in April 2020 after much controversy about how the plume speed had been calculated and the impact on light aircraft.

CASA says it will continue to monitor and collect data about the impact of the plume.

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