Crashed Down

The eight towers at the defunct Hazelwood Power Station in Morwell, Victoria, came tumbling down on Monday in a controlled demolition that highlights the end of an era.

The 137 metre1 chimney assets operated for more than fifty years before the brown coal-fired power station was shut down in 2017. During its years of operation, the generating units collectively produced 1600MW of electricity and the power station provided more than twenty-five percent of power to Victorians2.

The destruction of the chimneys was in the planning stage for many years, proving that preparations for decommissioning of assets must be a considered, risk-averse process. Approximately 400 staff have been working at the site, planning for the controlled demolition. With fifty kilograms of asbestos in each chimney, and twelve tonnes of concrete, the asset owner, Engie, stressed that the controlled demolition had to be undertaken in favourable weather conditions to keep dust and plume from the explosion to a minimum. Although the site is continually monitored for asbestos according to Victorian laws, it is expected to be contained within the detonation.

Decommissioning assets at end-of-life ought to be a strategic process that is underpinned by leadership, a strong culture, and sound decision-making methods. The decommissioning process needs as much care and attention as any other of your business’s assets; it requires making choices, often in times of uncertainty, which can have an adverse effect on the value of the business if not carefully considered. The timing is crucial. Previously, many businesses have paused on the process of decommissioning of assets, assuming best-practice. However, a planned and strategic decommissioning is usually the best approach to usher in tangible advantages to the business.

What are your thoughts on the controlled demolition of the Hazelwood chimneys? Did you see it via live-stream or were you one of the many who watched in vehicles from the side of the highway? Let us know, we’d appreciate your comments. Don’t forget to check our website for the upcoming events, V-chats to maintain social networking, and all your asset management needs!


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