A revitalised Lonsdale Street in Dandenong, undertaken by BKK Architects in conjunction with Taylor Cullity Lethlean. Photo: Peter Bennetts

28 March 2012 – General Electric says it can see significant business opportunities in the distributed energy industry in Australia, after its natural gas-fired Jenbacher engines were selected for the cogeneration plant to be installed in the revitalised commercial district of Dandenong, south east of Melbourne.

The Dandenong plant, to be built by Cogent Energy, will also have the capacity to produce surplus hot water which GE will then sell back to local commercial buildings to provide cooling via building owner-supplied absorption chillers.

The engine will supply project owner Cogent Energy with a 2 Megawatt, J612 Jenbacher cogeneration unit for Phase 1 of the new power facility, with capacity to be expanded to 6 MW, chief executive officer and president, gas engines for GE Energy, Rafael Santana said.

The Jenbacher gas engines are designed to run solely on a variety of gases, which results in high levels of generator efficiency, reliability and environmental performance, Mr Santana said.

At Dandenong, the e plant is expected to save the equivalent of about 9.9 tonnes of carbon emissions a year – equal to the removal of more than 5500 cars from the road.

GE expects the plant is just the start of what could be many more business opportunities as alternatives to conventional coal fired energy sources become more sought after.

“Australia represents an important growth region for GE as more customers embrace various distributed power applications – including industrial cogeneration – to bring the sources of energy production closer to end-users,” Mr Santana said.

Manager of Cogent Energy Blair Healy said: “Helping central Dandenong transform itself into a vibrant, 21st Century retail and services district will require a reliable, cleaner, cost-effective supply of energy to meet the growing needs of the area’s business and residential communities.”

The Jenbacher engines, supplied through GE’s distributor Clarke Energy Australia,  was shipped to the Dandenong site in January, with commercial operation set to begin this year.